You wouldn’t attempt to drive your car when it has no fuel. You know better, and would make sure to put something in the tank before heading out even for a short trip around town, let along a long trip.
Food is our fuel, it’s our energy source that runs all of our body’s systems. So why do we continually see people trying to workout without enough fuel in the tank? It’s important to make sure that you have a little something to eat before your workout – always.
Round It Out – Plan a pre-workout snack to have a protein, carb, and a fruit or vegetable. Of course whatever you choose is going to depend on personal preferences, and any dietary restrictions you might have, but some of my favorite pre-workout dining includes milk, eggs, nut butters, cottage cheese, yogurt & granola. All items high in protein that will help you to feel more satisfied yet keeping it light. Morning-glory or Bran muffins, oatmeal with fruit or nuts, or high fiber cereals are all carbs that have whole or fuller grains to help you feel fuller without eating a large amount. Bananas and apples are my favorite go-to fruits to round it out. They are easy to take on the go, relatively mess-free and provide a decent amount of nutrients and fiber. Mixed melon, cucumber, and mixed berries are a fresh, light change as well. Making a smoothie to go is also a great way to incorporate more than one of these nutrient groups together in a tasty way. Try adding spinach for a high iron boost in a fruit/veg smoothie!
Did You Know? Cramping when running or swimming after eating a fuller meal is actually your body trying to digest that food. The blood that supplying your body’s intestinal tract gets redirected to your arms and legs, and the food “stalls” in your intestines.
Don’t let your car sputter out, just make sure you put premium in!
So far in our nutrition series we have looked at vegetable intake, protein and dietary fat. Because two of the macronutrients have been covered (protein and fat) that leaves us with the remaining biggie: carbohydrates.
Carbs have received some very bad publicity and have been demonized over the years but they are an essential part of a healthy diet. The key, of course, is to choose quality carbohydrates and either eliminate or reduce the processed, refined choices. Processed foods like packaged cakes, cookies or pastries, fast food, white rice, white bread and the like are the culprits that earn the bad reputation that is given across the board. Our bodies don’t manage these well and the more refined the item is, the worse it is for our health and our waistline. In addition to poor quality, there is also a very good chance that these products have a lot of added sugar which is a highly refined simple carbohydrate.
Many people are not aware that vegetables and fruit are carbs and they are one of the best choices available to us. Choose a rainbow of veggies and many of the fantastic summer fruits. They are full of phytochemicals and antioxidants and a great filler with few calories most of the time.
When choosing other carbohydrates, aim for whole grains and as little processing as possible. Think wild rice as opposed to white or cooked, steel cut oats instead of a packaged breakfast cereal. There are wonderful recipes available to make cooking more interesting and your whole food choices tasty as well as nutritious. Remember that only a quarter of your plate should be starchy (breads, rice, etc) carbs and on another quarter sits your protein source. The remainder will see your veggies filling out your plate, ensuring the best possible meal for you.
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