Feedback from TappMD Expert
Erin Palinski, RD, CDE, LDN Active Lifestyles
Being active sometimes means you are always on the go. Especially for athletes, proper nutrition is imperative when doing vigorous workouts to ensure your body is getting the fuel it needs to perform at its optimum level. These tips can help one perform his best!
Eating a performance-enhancing diet isn’t easy, and for many athletes and active people, nutrition is their missing link. If that’s your case, here are a few ABC’s to get you started on the path to winning with good nutrition.
Always eat breakfast; it’s the meal of champions! Within three hours of waking, fuel-up for a high-energy day. Not hungry in the morning? Trade evening snacks for a nice breakfast the next day.
Breakfast of champions? I vote for whole grain cereal + milk + fruit—an easy, wholesome, carb-protein combination.
Carbohydrates are essential to fuel-up and refuel your muscles. Do not “stay away from” pasta, potato, bread, bagels and other carbs that have wrongly been deemed “fattening.” Excess fat gets easily converted into body fat, but not carbs.
Dehydration needlessly slows you down, so plan to drink extra fluids before you exercise. The kidneys require about 45 to 90 minutes to process fluids. Allow time to tank up, eliminate the excess, and then drink again pre-workout.
Energy bars are more about convenience than necessity. Bananas, yogurt, fig cookies and granola bars offer convenient fuel at a fraction of the price. But if you prefer the convenience of bars, try Zing Bars (www.ZingBar.com). Yum!
Food is fuel–not the “fattening enemy” as some weight-conscious athletes believe. If you obsess about food and weight, find a local sports dietitian at www.SCANdpg.org.
Gatorade and other sports drinks are designed to be used by athletes during extended exercise, not as a lunch or snack beverage.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, as characterized by light-headedness, fatigue, and inability to concentrate) is preventable. To eliminate an afternoon energy lag/drop in blood sugar, enjoy a hearty snack between lunch and dinner.
Iron-rich foods, needed to prevent anemia, include beef and dark meat chicken (thigh, leg). If you eat neither of those, choose iron-fortified breakfast cereals (Raisin Bran, Wheaties). Read the cereal label, and note all natural brands (Kashi, granola) offer little iron.
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