A well-balanced, healthy diet will help you to get the nutrients and calories you need for your daily activities. This includes regular exercise.
It’s not just a matter of choosing vegetables over donuts when it comes to choosing foods that will fuel your performance during exercise. It’s important to eat at the right time of day.
Discover the importance of healthy meals, workout snacks and meal plans.
Start off on the right foot
The first meal you eat is nutriment
A Harvard Health Letter article states that eating breakfast regularly is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. A healthy breakfast can replenish blood sugar that your body requires to fuel your muscles and your brain.
A healthy breakfast is important every day, but it is even more so when you plan to exercise. If you skip breakfast, you may feel lightheaded or lethargic when you are working out.
It is important to choose the right breakfast. Many people start their mornings with simple carbohydrates. You won’t feel satisfied for very long with a plain white bagel, or a doughnut.
A breakfast rich in fiber and protein may help you to resist hunger longer and give you the energy needed to continue your workout.
Here are some tips to help you eat a healthy morning meal:
- Try oatmeal, oatbran, or any other cereals high in fiber instead of sugary cereals made with refined grains. Add some protein to your cereal, like milk, yogurt or nuts.
- Replace some of the all purpose flour in pancakes and waffles with whole grain options. Stir some cottage cheese in the batter.
- Choose whole grain bread if you like toast. Pair it with peanut butter, an egg or another source of protein.
The right carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have been given a bad reputation by low-carb diets. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. Accordingapproximately 45 to 65 percent your daily total calories should be carbohydrates. This is particularly true if your exercise.
It is important to consume the right type of carbohydrates. Most people consume simple carbohydrates found in processed foods and sweets. You should instead focus on complex carbohydrates found in whole grains and vegetables.
Whole grains are more durable than refined grains, because they are digested more slowly.
You can feel satiated for longer, and your body will be fueled throughout the day. Also, they can help to stabilize your blood glucose levels. These grains are rich in vitamins and minerals that will keep your body functioning at its best.
Protein-rich snacks and meals
Your body needs protein to grow, maintain, and repair itself. The University of Rochester Medical Center, for example, reports that red cells die after approximately 120 days.
It is essential to build and repair muscles so that you can reap the benefits of your exercise. When carbohydrates are scarce, it can provide energy. However, it is not the main source of fuel for exercise.
Harvard Health Blog reports that adults need to consume 0.8 grams of proteins per kilogram of body weight. This is equal to 0.36 grams per pound. Some people, such as older adults and exercisers, may require even more.
Fruit and vegetables are good for you
Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and natural fiber. These foods are also low in fat and calories.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that you fill up half of your plate at each meal with fruits and vegetables.
Choose fruits and vegetables of various colors. You will be able to enjoy all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants available in the produce aisle.
Consider trying a new vegetable or fruit every time you visit the supermarket. Keep dried fruits and vegetables in your gym bag as snacks.
Healthy fats are available
Unsaturated fatty acids may reduce inflammation and provide calories.
Even though fat is the primary fuel used for aerobic exercise we have enough stored to power even the longest workouts. But getting unsaturated fats is important for providing essential fatty acid and calories that keep you active.
Fuel before Exercise
It’s crucial to get the right balance between carbs and proteins when it comes to fueling your body before or after an exercise. You can feel more energized by eating pre-workout snacks that contain both carbohydrates and protein.
Stock your gym bag and fridge with these easy snacks.
Bananas contain potassium and magnesium which are essential nutrients that you should consume every day. A banana is a great way to replenish minerals and provide natural sugars for your workout. Enjoy your bananas with peanut butter for added protein.
Oranges, grapes and berries
All of these fruits are full of water, vitamins, and minerals. These fruits are easy on the intestines and give you an instant boost of energy. They also help you to stay hydrated. Pair them with yogurt to get some protein.
Nuts contain heart-healthy fats, as well as essential nutrients and protein. You can use them as a sustained source of energy during your workout.
Combine them with dried or fresh fruit to get a healthy dose carbohydrates. Test these options first to see if they work for you. High-fat food can slow digestion and make you feel fuller longer.
Most grocery stores sell single-serving peanut butter packets that do not require refrigeration. They can also be stored easily in a gym backpack. Spread peanut butter on the following foods for a delicious protein-carbohydrate combination:
- A banana
- Whole-grain Crackers
- A slice of whole grain bread
Avoid cutting too many calories
You may feel tempted to reduce the number of calories in your meals if you are trying to lose weight. Weight loss is achieved by cutting calories, but you can go too far.
You should not feel tired or sick when you are on a weight loss diet. These symptoms indicate that you aren’t getting enough calories for your health and fitness.
According to National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Trusted Source, women can safely lose weight by following a diet that contains 1,200-1,500 calories per day. Most men trying to lose weight should stick to a diet of 1,500-1,800 calories per day.
You may need more calories if you are very active, or if you want to maintain your weight and fitness goals. Speak to your doctor about how many calories are needed to achieve your fitness and lifestyle goals.