Making Strides Toward Healthy Eating
What you eat throughout the day is just as important as stretching before and after your workout. Follow these tips for healthy eating:
- Aim for five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day, with at least one serving per meal (one serving= ¼ of your plate).
- Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products. They’re an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
- Be aware of “portion distortion.” Read food labels for portion information, and try sharing meals when eating out.
- Take the time to enjoy your meal and avoid overeating by taking 20 minutes to eat each meal.
- Eat in moderation. Remember, there are no “bad foods,” just foods that should be eaten less frequently than others.
Fueling your workouts
It's important to have the right balance of fuel for your body. Your diet should include carbohydrates to feed muscles, protein to build and repair tissues, fats to sustain prolonged exercise, and calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones.
Pay attention to what and when you eat, depending on what time of day you exercise. Check out these "better fuel" choices for morning and afternoon workouts.
Morning: Cereal bar or a banana with peanut butter?
Better fuel: Banana with peanut butter
The peanut butter will satisfy your appetite because it contains protein and healthy fats. The banana will provide quick energy because it contains carbohydrates. The combination of nutrients will fuel the body for the entire workout and will digest quickly so you don't feel sick or get cramps while exercising. Simple sugars like those in cereal bars or fruit juice absorb the fastest, but cause a quick rise and fall in blood sugar, making you tired. Avoid fatty foods, such as bacon and sausage, which stay in your stomach longer.
Noon: Small salad or turkey sandwich?
Better fuel: Turkey sandwich
You get just the right balance of carbohydrates (50-60 percent), protein (20 percent) and fat (20-30 percent). While salads are low in calories, they don't contain the protein or carbohydrates you need. Carbohydrates are essential for exercise and strength-training. Your muscles store it as glycogen to supply your body with energy. Complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are best.
Drink: Water or sports drink?
Better fuel: Water
Water helps replace fluids lost during exercise. Drink 2 cups of water two hours before exercising. During your workout, drink 4-8 ounces (1/2-1 cup) every 15-20 minutes. After working out, drink another 2 cups of water. Sports drinks are beneficial when you exercise for more than an hour or at high intensity because they replace the glycogen you need for energy. But they're high in calories, so you could be taking in more calories than you burn off.
Interested in an individualized food plan? Call 610-402-5000 to schedule a nutrition session with a registered dietitian.