Healthy snack plays an important role in an athlete’s diet. Healthy snack provides enough energy for sport, enhances muscle recovery, contributes to controlling weight and improves cognitive performance. Athletes should eat three meals and two to four snacks daily. They should determine the number and kind of snacks by hunger plus athletic and sleep plans. Most athletes think that snack is not good. Conversely, a healthy snack is essential to preserve energy and metabolism balanced during the day. No matter whether you are attempting to manage weight, lose weight or put on weight, it is necessary to consume two to four healthy snacks daily.
What is the importance of healthy snacks for athletes?
Athletes must absorb more calories and food than people who do not follow exercise professionally. Foods contain carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Healthy snacks can supply these nutritious substances your body need. Consuming a healthy snack before a workout can provide your body with the required energy. Consuming a healthy snack exactly after exercise can prevent eating too much during mealtime.
What snacks should not I consume?
Snacks that contain high amounts of fat and sugar must not be consumed. These snacks usually include doughnuts, cookies, potato chips, candy bars, and sodas. These foods do not contain high amounts of healthy and nutritious substances. They cannot usually provide the energy an athlete need to operate well during a workout.
What kind of snacks should I consume?
You should include snacks that are quick, easy, and healthy in your diet. You must prepare these snacks in advance and have them ready to use when you must eat them. This will facilitate for you to eat healthy snacks during a busy day. It is advisable to select snacks from all the food groups to receive a diversity of nutritious substances during the day. A healthy and nutritious diet must include apple or banana slices and peanut butter, whole-grain crackers and cheese, carrot and celery sticks with dressing, cottage cheese or yogurt with fresh or canned fruit, energy bars, breakfast bars, or granola bars, crackers and hummus, trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, whole-grain bread or bagel sandwich (accompanied by peanut butter, turkey, lean roast beef, or tuna and other nutrients which are necessary for the body).
What are some practical tips for consuming healthy snacks for athletes?
It is important to keep some snacks in a refrigerator in order to prevent them from spoiling. These snacks must not be kept for more than 2 hours at room temperature since they can become a good place for bacterial growth which can be dangerous. It is necessary to keep dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt cold. Salads or sandwiches produced from meat, fish, or poultry are also no exception.
If you want to maintain your weight, consume a snack before having a strong desire to eat. This will prevent you from overeating during the day. Your dietitian should tell you how many calories you must absorb each day. Your dietitian can guide you select snacks that will contribute to you receiving the correct amount of calories.
What snacks should I consume before a competition?
You should select a snack before a competition based on the time you devote to exercising. If the competition is more than 1 hour, select carbohydrates that the body absorbs gradually. These can be yogurt, bananas, oatmeal with milk, apples, and energy bars. If the competition lasts less than 1 hour, select carbohydrates that the body absorbs rapidly. These can be crackers, bread, and English muffins. It is important to consume snacks 1 hour before exercise to inhibit hunger and low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can cause dizziness and fatigue. The suggestible amount of carbohydrate for each kilogram of the body weight is 1 gram. For example, if your body weight is 80 kilograms, you should consume 80 grams of carbohydrates.
Foods that have high levels of fat, sugar, or fiber must not be consumed before exercise. Foods high in fat need a longer time to be absorbed by the body and may bring about a stomach ache. Foods high in sugar may lead to a drop in blood sugar during exercise. Foods rich in fiber, like whole grain bread and cereals, may lead to gas and a stomach ache. It is better to make use of snack foods that you are accustomed to eating. It is advisable not to test a new food before exercise. Food digestion differs from person to person. Specific foods may lead to stomach spasms, gas, or diarrhea. This may force you to decelerate or even put an end to the competition.
Recommendable healthy snacks for athletes
1. Nuts, trail mix or nut butter with fruit
A combination of almonds, trail mix or peanut butter plus fruit is recommendable as a snack since it is full of carbohydrates and healthy fats which can provide adequate energy.
2. Greek yogurt
In order to maintain your stamina and endurance, you can mix a package of nuts or a plate of cereal with Greek yogurt.
3. Cheese with fruit
For a nutritious snack, you can use any cheese with fruit.
4. Popcorn with nuts
You can make use of a bag of air-popped or plain salted popcorn instead of caramel corn. You can include a package of nuts for a snack that has carbohydrates and healthy fats.
5. Beef jerky
Jerky is rich in protein that can be consumed with pretzels, applesauce or fruit to make a nutritious snack.
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6. Protein bars
When you want to select a protein bar, choose one produced from nuts for a snack with lots of protein and carbohydrates. A protein bar is a wonderful option.
7. Chocolate milk
Chocolate milk is a good option to improve recovery after exercise. It contains high amounts of protein and carbohydrates that are great for muscle recovery. These are all great snacks for those who want to follow exercise and want to have a healthy body and balanced diet.