An adequate and balanced diet and regular exercise are indispensable for a healthy life. The calories and nutrients you need to do your daily activities can be met with a healthy diet program. However, if you are an athlete and you train with intense activity, when you eat is as important as what you eat to improve your exercise performance. It would help if you consumed the snacks you eat between the main meals at the right times of the day and make the right food choices.
How Should An Athlete’s Meal Be?
The right food choices before and after exercise can increase the efficiency of the workout. Although the snacks chosen before the training and the ones chosen after the training are basically similar, there are minor differences. Before exercise, the body needs carbohydrates as energy. After exercise, foods containing a combination of protein and carbohydrates help repair damaged muscles.
Pre-Workout Snack Alternatives
It would be best if you consumed a light snack 1-3 hours before your workout. Consuming a snack just before exercise can cause digestive problems. During training, more blood goes to your muscles and you may have trouble digesting the foods you consume.
Peanut Butter Sandwich: Gives your muscles the energy they need during exercise. Peanut butter contains some vegetable protein in its content. With the carbs in bread and peanut butter you’ll get the glucose you need for training, while the protein in peanut butter can help with post-workout muscle repair. Going for a short walk or to a yoga class? A small peanut butter sandwich might be all you need.
Low-fat milk and oatmeal with fruit: You can provide the energy your body needs with a bowl of high-fibre oatmeal and fruit before your workout. The body digests carbohydrates high in fibre, such as oats and fruit, more slowly, so your blood sugar stays more stable and you feel energized for longer. Low-fat milk provides an extra source of protein and bone-building calcium.
Yogurt smoothie with fruit: The smoothie is easy to digest, so it will prevent you from feeling sluggish during exercise. You can prepare smoothies by mixing your favorite carbohydrate-containing fruits such as strawberries, bananas, apples, and protein-rich yogurt. You can add ice or cold water to increase the amount of liquid in it. Thus, you can increase your strength and endurance during training.
The mixture of dried fruit and oilseeds: Dried fruits such as raisins, dried apricots, dried figs and prunes are excellent sources of carbohydrates. You can prepare a perfect pre-workout snack by mixing dried fruits with heart-friendly and protein-rich oil seeds such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, which are high in unsaturated fat. These foods are also a rich source of antioxidants. It helps your body use oxygen better during training and facilitates the removal of toxins from the body.
Post-Workout Athlete Meal Options
Banana: You can consume bananas to balance your blood sugar, which drops right after your workout. Banana is easy to digest the fruit. It is also a rich source of potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps after exercise.
Whole-grain bread and eggs: You can make an egg toast with whole-grain bread, which is easy to prepare and delicious. With whole grain bread, you can replace the energy you spend during exercise and keep your blood sugar level in balance, thanks to its rich fibreS content. Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they have most of the essential amino acids your body uses to build muscle. It helps to repair your damaged muscles after training.
Chocolate milk: This childhood favorite drink is rich in both carbs and protein. It has an ideal protein-carb ratio to rebuild your muscles. In addition, chocolate milk is 90% liquid, so it helps replace the fluids lost during exercise.