Fueling for Exercise


By Whitney Randall, Nutritionist

After school you may participate in soccer practice, tennis lessons, gymnastics, ballet class…this list could go on forever! So how do you manage? After a full day at school you must be exhausted and ready to curl up in your bed with a good book. The key is proper nutrition and fueling your body so you can perform your best in whatever activity you choose to do. So what exactly does this mean?

Focus on carbohydrates and protein. Your body uses the energy from carbohydrates and protein to fuel your body and to help build strong muscles. Having a snack before practice will help your body maintain its blood glucose levels and keep you from feeling too exhausted.

Have you ever had cookies and soda right before practice and felt great, but then 30 minutes later you can barely move and you just want to go take a nap? If you know what I am talking about then you may have fallen trap to simple carbohydrates. While they seem perfectly innocent, they can be the cause of what we call a “sugar crash”.

Next time, try carbohydrates that offer whole grains such as a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter or whole wheat crackers with a couple of slices of low fat cheese. Both of these snacks offer a good source of carbohydrates and protein.

Simple Snacks to Pack:

-string cheese and whole wheat crackers

-sliced apples and peanut butter

-whole wheat bread with a slice of turkey and cheese

– 1 ounce almonds

-banana and yogurt

-edamame (soybeans)

-cinnamon rice crackers with peanut butter

Keep in mind; athletes who enter competition or practice in a dehydrated state are at a competitive disadvantage. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before and during your workout!