If you’re not accustomed to eating in the morning before practice, it’s time to start! Eating a meal or snack before you head out to practice provides adequate fuel and energy needed to keep you going. You wouldn’t put half a tank of gas in a car to go on a 500 mile road trip because you would be stranded on the side of the road before you knew it! If you don’t fuel your body adequately before a long morning practice or camp, your body will quickly hit empty. Grabbing a snack about 30 minutes to an hour before practice will get you energized and ready to take on your workout. Pre-workout meals and snacks need to be high in carbohydrate, moderate to low in protein, and have little to no fat and fiber.
Here are some quick and easy pre-workout snack options:
Plain bagel with a thin smear of peanut butter and a banana
Smoothie with protein powder, fruit and juice/milk
Peanut butter crackers
Baggie of dry whole grain cereal
After an intense morning practice, it is time to refuel your body. Whether you’re done for the day or have another practice in the afternoon, eating post-workout helps you replenish and rebuild. It is important to eat a post-workout snack within 30 minutes after practice to kick-start the recovery process. Even if you don’t feel hungry, you need to give your body the nutrition it is craving to help you recover faster. This snack should have a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein and little to no fat. This means for every 4 grams of carbohydrate you eat, you need 1 gram of protein. The carbohydrate is the energy that replenishes your body while the protein is what starts to rebuild your muscles that were broken down during your workout. In order to fully complete the recovery process, it is important to eat a well-balanced meal within an hour and a half of eating your post-workout snack. This meal should be rich in carbohydrate and fluid, moderate in protein, and low in fat.
Post-workout snack ideas:
Low-fat chocolate milk
Smoothie/shake with fruit, low-fat milk & whey protein
Whole grain cereal with low-fat milk
Yogurt with granola
Post-workout meal ideas:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread, apple and low-fat milk
Whole wheat bagel, peanut butter, banana and low-fat milk
Omelet with low-fat cheese, veggies and ham paired with whole wheat toast and fruit
6” Subway on wheat or honey oat with veggies, lean meat, and cheese, baked chips and fruit
Grilled chicken sandwich and a fruit cup
Modifying your eating habits may take a little bit of work, but the benefits of eating a pre- and post-workout snack and meal are worth it! You will have more energy, recover quicker, and feel better because your body has the fuel it needs to power through the spring season!
Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSDD, LD is a sports dietitian in the DFW area. She has worked with Texas Christian University Athletics, the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, FC Dallas Soccer, Jim McLean Golf School and many PGA Tour players as well as with many middle school, high school and endurance athletes. Amy speaks at a variety of nutrition, athletic training and coaching conferences. She is an ambassador/spokesperson for the National Dairy Council, a Dairy Max Health and Wellness Advisory Council member and on the Speakers Bureau for Gatorade Sports Science Institute. Amy is also the co-author of “Swim, Bike, Run – Eat,” a sports nutrition book for triathletes.
Amy received her Bachelor of Science in speech communications from Texas Christian University and Master of Science in exercise and sports nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. She is also a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.