For those trying to get fit for their upcoming athletic seasons, working out on the track, court, field, pool or mat is the most urgent concern. There is a secret that most people do not know, though. You can take the first step to victory out of practice.
The kitchen at breakfast, lunch and dinner can be a powerful tool for building and fueling your body. The foods you eat can play a helpful role if you know what you’re eating.
Breakfast is a key meal for any athlete. One food that offers a variety of benefits is oatmeal. Oatmeal is a heart healthy whole grain that can help soak up unwanted fat (for wrestlers looking for a way to make weight) and cholesterol (for runners who can appreciate healthy blood flow). It helps with weight issues by curbing appetites by slowing the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Oatmeal also acts as fuel because it is a good source of B vitamins, important for athletes as a source of energy.
One way to add a little flavor to a bland bowl of oats is to:
- Mix plain oatmeal with milk and add a handful of nuts or seeds and dried or fresh fruit. Toss it in the microwave and cool off with a splash of milk before eating.
(The added ingredients also add their own health benefits).
Hungry for a snack? Yogurt is an ideal solution. It is rich in Vitamin B-12; this super food helps athletes prevent fatigue. It allows you to take in very few calories while maintaining a certain number of calories. Calories are a way of providing sources of energy to your body. Because of this, it is important to have a balanced level of calories each day.
If your game, meet, or match is a little later in the day and you don’t want to worry about eating more food, then a healthy snack is ideal.
Some foods that are good are apple or banana slices and peanut butter, carrot and celery sticks with dressing, cottage cheese with fresh or canned fruit, dry cereal with dried fruit, energy bars, breakfast bars or granola bars, granola with low fat milk and a banana, pudding and graham cracker, yogurt and canned fruit, peanut butter, crackers and vegetable juice, sandwiches (made with peanut butter, turkey, lean roast beef or tuna), trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, whole grain bagel with peanut butter and a yogurt, whole grain crackers and cheese and whole grain low-fat muffin with low-fat milk.
The benefit of eating snacks one hour before a competition will keep you from getting hungry and keep your blood sugar from getting low.
Now from all of the choices I’ve given you you may be wondering “How do I decide what to eat?” The kind of snack you should choose before a competition depends on how long you will be exercising. For competitions lasting longer than one hour, during which you will not be eating, choose carbohydrates that digest slowly. Some examples of these foods are yogurt, bananas, oatmeal with milk, apples, and energy bars. If you will be exercising for less than one hour, choose carbohydrates that digest easily. Some of these foods include crackers, bread and English muffins. One hour before exercise, eat one gram of carbohydrate for each kilogram of your body weight. If you weigh 70 kilograms (154.32 pounds), you should eat 70 grams of carbohydrate. This is 2.20457143 grams per pound.
Avoid meals that are too large because they can cause discomfort while excercising and can affect your performance. It could halt your activity all together.