We all strive to eat healthy, balanced meals and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to ensure that our body will function at its best. But did you know that there are certain types of foods – and even combinations of foods – that are ideal to eat before, during and after physical activity to help you perform even better?
Chef Shai Mandel from Rooks to Cooks Summer Cooking Camps explains how best to fuel up before getting active! Continue reading to learn more...
It’s helpful to think of food as fuel. Just like a car needs gas, our bodies need food to move. The more one drives, the more gas they will need. The more we move, the more food we will need.
But what differs is that different foods fuel us in different ways. Food is grouped into 3 categories known as macronutrients:
All food items have a mixture of those macronutrients in them, however, it is the distribution of these elements that identifies a food item as a source of carbohydrates, protein, or fat.
Now why does this matter? Well, as mentioned above, different types of foods fuel us in different ways and we must consider ‘how much’ and ‘what kinds’ of movement we will be doing in order to help us decide what food will fuel us in the best way. Carbohydrates take very little time to digest and as a result fuel us quickly, but do not sustain us for very long. In comparison, proteins and fats take much longer to digest and consequently, fuel us slower but for a longer period of time.
Let’s think about your upcoming physical activity needs. You will likely need immediate energy while participating in sports games and/or practices. Therefore, we need fuel that will digest quickly, release energy quickly and sustain us for the period of the game or practice. As such, we want to be eating carbohydrate dense meals or snacks in preparation for that amount of activity or movement.
When choosing your carbohydrate rich snacks/meals, make sure to look for options that are: (1) low in sugar; (2) preferably high in fibre; and (3) include some levels of proteins and/or fats.
This will improve the sustainability of your meal, ensuring that you are fuelled for the duration of your game or practice. Also, make sure that your child is drinking water regularly throughout the day and before any physical activity.
When should you eat? For a game or practice, we would suggest that you eat approximately 1 - 2 hours before to allow for adequate digestion. The following are some great ideas to try to provide FUEL for your next game, practice or physical activity:
- Pre-game/practice SNACK ideas:
- Hummus Dip with Carrots
- Savoury Zucchini/Vegetable Muffins
- Blueberry Spinach Smoothie
- Pre-game/practice MEAL ideas:
- Grilled Cheese & Charred Tomato Soup
- Banana Pancakes (with nut or seed butter)
- Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Omelette)
Tip: get your kids involved in helping to make these dishes!!!
Stay tuned for Chef Shai's favourite healthy, go-to recipes to fuel active kids and visit www.rookstocooks.ca for more information about their upcoming programs for kids!