Of course we all want more energy throughout the day so when it comes time for our workout, we accomplish great things. Well, when it comes to supporting that active body of yours, eating foods at the right time can make all the difference.
It is important to know and understand how timing nutrient intake and eating the right foods affect your sweat sessions.
What's the goal? Boost your energy! You never want to be running on empty and risk an unstable blood sugar level. Eat a small, rich meal with carbohydrates that doesn't spike the blood sugar.
1 slice whole-grain bread + 1 Tbl. natural peanut butter + 1 cup protein-fortified skim milk
1 packet plain oatmeal made with 1 cup low-fat milk + 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 med whole-grain tortilla + 2 Tbl. hummus + 2 tomato slices + 4 cucumber slices + 1 oz. tuna (opt)
What's the goal? Slow down those cravings and restore sugar levels! Do you get those afternoon slumps when you are constantly looking at the clock and yawning every 5 minutes? Snacking two hours after lunch has its benefits! It helps keep your blood sugars normal which will help keep you from munching on those vending machine goodies. Make sure it contains fiber, some protein, and healthy fats as it will help slow down digestion and provides a slower release of energy. Sugary sweets release a big gush of energy which causes you to be tired earlier.
1 small pita + 3 oz. chicken breast + 1/2 cup cucumber slices + 1 slice tomato
1/2 cup whole-grain couscous + 4 oz. cubed tofu + 1/2 cup broccoli + 1 tsp olive oil +
1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar
Before your Workouts
What's the goal? Energize those sweat sessions! Eat a carb-rich snack within an hour or two of your gym time and you'll be able to go harder and consequently, burn more calories. Make sure to drink water with this snack as well to improve your strength and performance at the gym!
If you are doing a strength training session, your gym time utilizes muscle carbs as a fuel source, so keeping yourself "fueled" is essential. Heidi Skolnik, a dietitian and author, says that you should "aim for 15-25 grams of carbs before weight training." Are you working out first thing in the morning? You should add 6-15 grams of protein to the mix.
1 slice of toasted rye bread + 2 Tbl. hummus + 1 sliced hard-boiled egg on top + 8 baby carrots
20 unsalted dry-roasted almonds + 1 cup mixed berries
1 cup vegetable soup + 3 small whole-grain crackers + 1/2 cup applesauce
3 rye crisp crackers + 1/2 cup cottage cheese + 1 small piece of fruit
During your Workouts
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! It is a must, especially when your resistance training sessions are back-to-back with cardio. However, if you are one of those people with a "fast metabolism" and it's hard for you to gain muscle (I wish I had your genes!) you should have some carbs during a workout, whether it be a sports drink or energy bar. Small amount of protein wouldn't hurt either, though!
After your Workouts
What's the goal? Repair and jump start muscle recovery! Up to an hour post sweat, your muscles are like sponges waiting to refill those sugar stores. Make sure it contains carbs and protein with low fat.
Known as the "window of opportunity," this definitely is not the time to miss a meal! You should be replenishing fuel stores and jump start your body's repair and rebuilding by eating some carbs and protein within ONE HOUR of your last rep! Carb replenishment is based on the intensity and duration of your sweat session, but you usually need about 45-65 grams post-workout. Whole foods work great for this, but supplements (like a whey protein shake) works wonders as well if you are in a hurry!
Chicken and Acorn Squash Tacos
(510 calories, 54g carbs, 37g protein)
1 acorn squash, cut into cubes
6 oz. chicken breast, cooked and chopped
1 Tbl. fajita seasoning mix
2 8" whole grain flour tortillas
1/4 cup low fat shredded Swiss cheese
1 whole avocado, cubed
1/2 cup salsa
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place squash in a baking pan with 1/4" of water. Bake for 45 minutes, until tender.
3. When done, add to a skillet set on medium heat. Mix in chicken and seasoning and let warm.
4. Divide chicken and squash mix evenly among tortillas. Add cheese, avocado, and salsa to tacos.
1 cup skim milk + 1/2 cup strawberries + 2 scoops whey protein powder
1 1/2 oz. roasted, unsalted soy nuts + 1 medium orange
What's the goal? Stop cravings and prevent muscle breakdown! If you are genuinely hungry after an active day (which I usually am!) this meal can help. Though not a time for heavy carbs, starch, or fat, munching on a high protein treat can help you feel full through your Zzzzz's and until breakfast! Protein also releases amino acids to the muscles for repair while you count sheep.
1 low-fat string cheese + 1 small pear
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese + apple slices
1 cup low-fat milk + 1 scoop whey protein + 2 strawberries + 1/4 cup blueberries
So there you have it! As you can see, timing is everything! Your snacks help burn more calories, regulate your body's normal levels, and help restore muscle strength while you aren't working out. Make sure you pack those snacks! No matter what time a day you are working out, snacking can make it or break it when it comes to toning and losing! Now you can pack your meals with knowledge and reason behind it and of course you can spread the word on the importance of snacking...on your own two feet...
Until the next step bloggers...