Myth vs. Fact
Myth: “I’m in a hurry after practice and can’t eat for a few hours. Who cares, I will eat later”
Fact: Post-workout is the most important time to eat to help your body recover properly. Within 45 minutes after a workout, you want to have a carbohydrate-protein snack with some fluid. The “3 R’s of Recovery” are replenish, rebuild and rehydrate. Carbohydrate helps replenish the energy you burned off while exercising. Protein helps begin the rebuild muscle that was broken down. Finally, fluids help you rehydrate and replace the electrolytes that you sweated out. Good post-workout snacks include low-fat chocolate milk, ClifTM bar, yogurt and granola, or a smoothie made with milk, whey protein powder and fruit.
Sports Nutrition 101
Brown Bagging It
The bell rings, there are 25 minutes for lunch, and your only options are fried chicken strips with fries, a cheeseburger with chips or a candy bar and coke from the vending machine…what do you do? You need to brown bag it and bring your lunch!
For many athletes, school lunch is their “pre-workout” meal as it is likely 2-4 hours before their afternoon practice. Thus, the goal of this meal is FUEL for the body and its activities. An athlete’s lunch should be full of nutrient-rich foods that provide energy to think in school as well as be strong on the field.
5 components of a healthy brown bag lunch:
- 1-3 whole grains (whole wheat bread, crackers, granola bars or pretzels)
- 1-2 proteins (deli meat, chicken, cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, nuts)
- 1-2 fruits and/or vegetables (raw veggies, veggies on a sandwich, fruit, apple sauce, berries in yogurt)
- 1 dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese)
- Fluid like water, a low-calorie juice or low-fat milkWhole grains and fruits are carbohydrates which are the body’s #1 source of fuel. They provide B-vitamins for energy and a variety of other vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that help athletes perform at their optimal level and recover adequately. The goal with grain-based carbohydrates is to eat more whole wheat/whole grain products. They provide energy for a longer period of time. Protein helps build and repair muscle mass and thus should be a part of every meal and snack for athletes. Choosing lean proteins such as chicken without the skin, lean cuts of red meat, fish, turkey, peanut butter, beans and low-fat dairy products provide the amino acids athletes need to build and strengthen muscle. Dairy foods contain calcium which help bones develop, grow and repair and thus a necessity for all young athletes under the age of 30. Vegetables are full of illness-fighting anti-oxidants that keep athletes’ immune systems strong throughout the season. Finally, fluid is essential at lunch to stay hydrated and get ready for the afternoon practice ahead. Aim to include all 5 components in your lunch and you will feel energized and ready to play!
Here are some quick and easy brown bag lunch options:
- Flat Out Wrap (Super Target or Super Wal-Mart) w/ 1 slice 2% cheese, 2-3 oz meat, lettuce, tomato,veggies, 3 Tbs. avocado & 1 Tbs. light sauce, 1 cup strawberries, 1 light yogurt
- Whole wheat bagel w/2 Tbs. of peanut butter & 2 Tbs. All Natural Jelly, 15 honey pretzel sticks, 1 applesauce
- 1 whole wheat pita w/5 oz chicken breast, 1⁄4 cup 2% grated cheese, lettuce, tomato, 2 Tbs. light sour cream, salsa, 15 Multi-grain tortilla chips w/ 1⁄4 cup guacamole, 1 banana
- Sandwich on whole wheat bread w/1 slice 2% cheese, 3 oz deli meat, lettuce, tomato, veggies, 1 Tbs. light sauce, 15 whole wheat crackers, carrot and ranch dip snack pack, 1 Kashi TLC cookie
- 1 serving whole wheat crackers (All Bran, Kashi TLC, 100% Multi- Grain Wheat Thins, Pepperidge Farms Whole Wheat), 3 oz deli meat, 1 -2% string cheese, 1 light yogurt w/1 cup berries, 15 almonds
Modifying your eating habits from vending machine goodies to nutrient-rich foods will show up on the course, the field and in the weight room! You will have more energy, recover quicker, and feel better because your body has the fuel it needs to power through your workout or game!
Healthy Bites…Recipe of the Month
“Perfect Protein Bars”…Looking for a nutritious bar made with whole foods?
Protein bars are always a go-to for athletes. With the number of protein bars athletes can go through in a week, why not save some money and make your own! This recipe is a simple and tasty take on protein bars that can be made in bulk and last you awhile! These “Perfect Protein Bars” can be a quick breakfast in the morning with a glass of milk or thrown in a gym bag for an afternoon snack.
“Perfect Protein Bars” Ingredients
2 cups or 1 (16 oz jar) natural peanut butter 1 3/4 cups honey
2 scoops chocolate whey protein powder
3 cups dry uncooked oatmeal
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter and honey, heat in microwave for 70-90 seconds, until it easily stirs.
Add protein powder and oatmeal and mix thoroughly; it will be thick. Press into a 9 by 16 inch pan.
Refrigerate 1 hour, or until solid enough to cut into 24 bars.
Wrap each bar in foil or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Let’s breakdown the “Perfect Protein Bar” ingredients… Natural peanut butter is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (the “good” fat), vitamin E and protein. The oatmeal is rich in whole grains and will keep your energy levels up. The whey powder adds even more protein for building and repairing muscle. The chocolate flavoring of the whey powder and the honey add a touch of sweetness. These bars have the 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein (4 grams carbohydrate to 1 gram protein) that athletes need, making them a “perfect” pick!
Nutrition Facts per Serving (1 bar): Calories: 248, Carbohydrate: 31 gm, Fiber: 2 gm, Protein: 8 gm, Fat: 10 gm, Cholesterol: 5 mg
Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian for Ben Hogan Sports Medicine and serves as the sports dietitian for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, FC Soccer Dallas, Jim McClean Golf School, Texas Christian University Athletics, and University of Texas at Arlington Athletics. In addition, she is an adjunct professor and dietetic intern preceptor for Texas Woman’s University, Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Arlington and is a state media representative for the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. . She received her Bachelor of Science degree in speech communications from Texas Christian University and Masters in Exercise and Sports Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.