Healthy Foods for Working Out

Everyone knows that diet and exercise are each incredibly important parts of a healthy lifestyle.  Eating a healthy diet and working out on a regular basis are both necessary for total physical and mental health and simply doing one or the other is typically not enough to be completely healthy.  But oftentimes, people think about eating well and exercising in as entirely separate entities, which means they are neglecting a crucial aspect of a healthy lifestyle: maintaining both a healthy pre as well as post-workout diet.

Before workouts, carbohydrates should be your primary focus.  Eat them constantly in the hours leading up to your workout, and the closer you get to doing actual exercise, the more carbs you should consume.  Eating fats or proteins right before you work out is normally not conducive to a good workout; they are harder to digest which increases the probability of cramping or getting indigestion.  The glucose in carbs, however, will give you a burst of energy that your body needs to maintain itself during a workout.  Whole grain crackers, fruits and low-fat smoothies are all smart pre-workout snacks.

Even more crucial than your pre-workout snacks, however, is what you eat after your workout.  When you exercise, the exertion your body puts on itself causes it to crave an extremely high amount of nutrients.  For about an hour after your workout, your body is especially starved for nutrients, so feeding it intelligently is critical.  The best post-workout combination is a balance of carbohydrates and protein; generally, carbohydrates should account for approximately half of your energy, so pairing them with lean proteins allows you to reenergize in the best possible way.  Protein repairs your muscles after extended use, so it’s much more necessary after you exercise than it is before you start.

Some easy carb and protein snacks include whole wheat pita and hummus, whole grain toast and egg whites or egg substitute, and a protein shake with banana blended in.  Lean meats such as turkey and white meat chicken with brown rice or whole wheat pasta and vegetables are good options for larger post-workout dinners.

Eating smart before and after your workouts is just as, if not more important than the actual workout itself.  Treating your body well with smart food choices before and after you overwork it will allow your body to treat you better in the long run.

Try this easy post-workout snack the next time you exercise:

Raspberry Protein Smoothie


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 container (6 oz each) raspberry nonfat or low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries
  • 1/4 cup Egg Beaters® 100% Liquid Egg Whites
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Reddi-wip® Fat Free Dairy Whipped Topping, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place yogurt, raspberries, Egg Beaters and orange juice in blender container; cover. Blend on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Pour into tall glass. Top with Reddi-wip, if desired.

Meredith writes on behalf of , a company dedicated to healthy breakfasts and healthy eating.  Not your typical egg substitute, Egg Beaters are made with real, all natural egg whites.  With half the calories of shell eggs and all of the protein, there’s no reason not to try them today!

 




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