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Family Nutrition

Eat Healthier for Healthier Exercise

Help your family choose food wisely before and after hard play and exercise to keep bodies performing at their best. Good choices keep energy high and improve recovery time.  

The size, timing, and content of pre- and post-exercise meals and snacks can play important roles in anyone’s fitness plan. Help everyone in the family improve their energy level and use calories as fuel, not fat.

Fluids for everyone
•  Drinking 16-20 ounces of water for 1-2 hours before strenuous play or workouts
   makes exercise easier and more effective

Foods for some
•  Research shows a small snack may help improve workouts
•  Those who should eat before a workout include:
    Individuals with health issues like diabetes or hypoglycemia that can cause
    low blood sugar
    Anyone who feels overly tired, mildly dizzy, or faint during a workout
    Those who get so hungry it interferes with their energy level or focus
    Anyone who feels ravenously hungry after a workout

Timing is everything: Choose your eating method
Option 1

•  A snack 30 minutes before the workout
    100- to 200-calories including fast-digesting carbohydrates and little fat
        Energy bars (look for 3-5 grams of protein, at least 15 grams of carbs, and
        very little fat)
        Fruit juice
        Fruit smoothieæ
        High-glycemic fruits like pineapple, apricots, banana, mango, and watermelon
        Sports drinks

Option 2
•    A nutritionally balanced meal 1-2 hours before exercise
    300-400 calories with 50% carbohydrates and 50% protein
        Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
        Hummus and raw veggies
        Hard-boiled eggs (or egg whites)
        Cottage cheese and fruit
        Half a peanut butter or turkey/chicken sandwich on whole grain bread
        Fruit and yogurt

Fluids again
•  16-20 ounces of water soon after working out
•  Consider sports drinks with electrolytes in very hot, humid conditions

Balance in your post-workout meal
•  Post-workout food should refuel and repair muscles
•  Ideally, plan the meal for within 30 minutes to two hours after the workout, when
    the body is ready and preparing for the next workout
    Our bodies replace muscle fuel for 24 hours after a workout, so healthy, balanced
    meals are essential all the time
•  Eat no more than 50% of the calories burned during the workout
•  60% of the calories eaten at this time should come from carbohydrates
    Moderate exercisers: 30-40 grams of carbohydrates per hour of exercise
    High-intensity exercisers: 50-60 grams per hour of exercise
    Bodies need more carbohydrates than protein after a workout to replace glycogen
    (muscle fuel)
    25% of the calories eaten after a workout should come from protein
        10-15 grams for most people
        Protein will stop your body from breaking down muscle tissue for energy
        and begins the process of rebuilding and repairing your muscles
•  15% (or less) of post-workout calories should come from fat
        Less than 10 grams/serving is a low fat food
•  Combine foods for the best meal: lean protein, starch, and vegetables. Try:
    Cottage cheese with fruit
    Veggie omelet with whole grain toast or roll
    Vegetable stir-fry with chicken, shrimp, edamame or tofu
    Rice or popcorn cakes with nut butter
    Crackers with low fat cheese
    A protein/energy bar or shake

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