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Healthy eating tips from soccer star Abby Wambach

Karen Miner is the Food & Travel Assignment Editor for SheKnows, ChefMom and FabulousFoods. She is a freelance writer, recipe developer and is also the cook, author and photographer behind the food blog, Tasty Trials, a collection of ori...

Tips from a soccer pro

Abby Wambach, professional soccer player and gold medalist, feels very strongly about nutrition and leading a healthy lifestyle. Read on to find out her thoughts and tips on healthy eating.
Abby Wambach

Tips from a soccer pro

Abby Wambach, professional soccer player and gold medalist, feels very strongly about nutrition and leading a healthy lifestyle. Read on to find out her thoughts and tips on healthy eating.

Abby Wambach will soon compete in the 2012 summer games for another gold medal, something she is preparing for both on and off the field. SheKnows had the chance to talk with Abby about the upcoming summer games, healthy eating and nutrition, and how you can win a private soccer clinic with her.

Carbs, carbs, carbs

One of the first things Abby Wambach stressed is how important carbohydrates are to our bodies. "Human beings need carbohydrates. It's our fuel. It would be like getting into a car with no gas. It's the energy that makes you go," she says. To further her point, Abby continues, "Carbohydrates are an important factor for any person on the planet. You can't go on without carbohydrates in your body in order for your body to function like you want it to." Even after a small amount of exercise, she recommends refueling your body with the carbohydrates that it needs to keep going.

As for current diet trends, she says, "Some diets work for some people, and some diets don't. But the truth is, and this is the basic key factor that people forget is that nothing comes easy. If it's too good to be true, it's probably not going to last for a long time."

On the field

"Being a professional athlete, my nutrition is probably one of the most essential ingredients as to what makes me good on the field, and sometimes what doesn't make me so great on the field," Abby says. On the field, she easily loses 50-percent of her carbohydrate stores during a match, so it is necessary to replenish those stores before and after a match. Without the proper amount of carbohydrates in her system she says she probably wouldn't make it through warm-ups.

Check out Misty May-Treanor's diet secrets to look like a beach volleyball pro >>

wineIndulgence and moderation

Like everyone, Abby Wambach likes to indulge, but only rarely. When she's not training, she'll eat a burger and fries or have a glass of red wine… the key here is moderation. "I'm not saying I never indulge, but you make it a life choice and you make it a way of your being, so that when you do indulge, it is a very rare occasion," she says.

Abby offers this as her biggest piece of advice to those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle: "Giving yourself a break every so often is important, especially when you live a mostly nutritious lifestyle. It's not easy to say no to every indulgence that's put in front of your nose, to always be the strong-minded person, to order something super healthy on the menu. What is easy is to give yourself a break every so often, and not take life so seriously." Abby does caution however, "What you do need to take seriously are the obesity rates that are climbing and make sure you don't become one of those statistics."

Learn how to eat like a gold-medal athlete >>

2012 summer games

With her focus on this year's summer games, Abby says it is a mental chore to prepare for that ultimate goal: the gold medal. She says that she is much more mindful of what she's putting into her system coming up to the event: "It allows me to say no to a lot more things than maybe if I weren't vying after a medal." For her, that means no sweets, no alcohol and no fast food. What makes the cut? Pure foods, which she says make her the best player she can be. While she recognizes that this regimen might not be for everyone, it is the choice she's happily making for her job and her ability to perform on the field. Watch Abby and the rest of the U.S. Women's National Soccer team this summer in London.

soccer ballPlay soccer with a pro

Want to play soccer with a pro? Abby Wambach has partnered with Arnold/Brownberry/Oroweat Breads for the 2012 summer games. She says she's excited about this partnership because the brand is conscious of healthy eating and tries to educate and inspire people about living healthier lives, something that is very important to her. Visit the Arnold/Oroweat Facebook page to enter to win a one-on-one soccer clinic with Abby. Not only will learn some of her moves on the field, but you'll also have a chance to discuss nutrition and healthy eating. Be sure to check out her favorite sandwich recipes while you're there.

Watch: Kickin' It In The Kitchen with Abby Wambach

You know her as a soccer pro and Olympic gold medalist, but did you know that Abby Wambach also loves to cook and dreams of owning her own restaurant? Check out her recipe for the spicy panini with a kick on Arnold®/Brownberry®/Oroweat® 100% Whole Wheat.

More on healthy eating

Top 10 health foods that aren't healthy at all
Alex Guarnaschelli talks healthy eating
Curtis Stone shares his top healthy eating tips

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