We have survived the snow, cold and rain! At last, summer is here! Now that the weather is nice, being physically active is a piece of cake. But with physical activity, comes nutritional recommendations. With physical activity you are exerting your body to work. This means you are burning calories and losing electrolytes. It is very important to consume enough calories to prevent fatigue and to stay hydrated. Along with adequate calories, it is important to consume a balanced diet including all the food groups like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and low fat dairy.
Here are some meal planning tips to make sure you are ready for your outdoor activities! Make sure you eat frequent meals and snacks throughout the day. Avoid skipping meals. This gives your body consistent calories throughout the day. When you do not eat over a long period of time, your body will have to use its energy stores to fuel your activities. This can lead to more fatigue and less endurance during physical activity.
It is also important to include meals with complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats to provide proper fuel before and after physical activity. Complex carbohydrates include whole grains, oatmeal, legumes, beans, sweet potatoes. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel for higher intensity activity. Carbohydrates are required to help replenish glycogen stores, which are a form of sugar storage done by the liver. This ensures your blood sugar is under control and you have energy when you need it. When working out, your body needs to burn fuel somehow, so the glycogen stores are first to go. Within two hours following training, additional carbohydrates will help glycogen repletion. This means it is a great time for a meal!
Lean proteins include chicken or turkey without the skin; lean cuts of red meat, fish, low fat dairy, eggs, beans, tofu, nuts, edamame. Protein requirements are slightly higher for adults who are physically active, but can be easily obtained from the diet. There is no need for the use of additional protein supplements if you are a healthy adult male consuming adequate amounts of calories.
Healthy fats include fish, walnuts, flaxseeds/sunflower seeds/chia seeds, avocados, olive oil. Fats in the blood are used during lower intensity, longer duration physically activity. It is important to consume more of the healthy fats listed above and to limit unhealthy fats found in cookies, donuts, muffins, butter, fried foods, chips, etc…
Keeping the body hydrated before and after physical activity is very important. It is important to consume fluids before a work out, during a workout and after a workout. Recommendations for fluids need to be determined on an individual bases, but a good indicator for whether or not your body is hydrated is by looking at your urine. Light, pale yellow urine may mean you are adequately staying hydrated. While dark yellow urine, could mean you are not consuming enough fluids.
Foods to avoid before and after a workout include fried/greasy foods; concentrated sweets like cookies, donuts, cakes; and sugar sweetened beverages (soda, juices with added sugars).
Obtaining adequate nutrition will keep you energized for longer and replenish lost nutrients from exercise. Remember to stay active and eat balanced!
Jennifer Seleem is a registered dietitian/nutritionist with the Institute for Weight Loss at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center-Old Bridge. The Institute provides weight loss surgery and support for individuals seeking weight loss and have been unable to lose weight through conventional dieting, exercise or weight loss medication. To attend a free seminar, which occurs twice monthly, call 855-TIME-4-ME.
With locations in Perth Amboy and Old Bridge, New Jersey, Raritan Bay Medical Center delivers critical world-class healthcare services care to Monmouth and Middlesex County residents. As providers of first-class healthcare in the areas of stroke, cardiology, cancer, physical rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, pediatric medicine, Raritan Bay Medical Center continues to stay on the forefront of medicine.
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