Energy bars, bottled smoothies and sports drinks are easy to throw in your gym bag, but other types of healthier food can be even better before or after your workout, for energy, stamina and hydration.
Spirited women have busy lives and it is enough of a challenge for you to fit in a workout, let alone prepare something healthy to eat before you do it. But, according to Women’s Health Magazine there are several foods that pack a punch during your fitness routine – and they are just as easy to grab and eat in the car on the way.
Here are some of my favorite choices:
Bananas - Thanks to bananas' high potassium content, peeling one is a speedy solution to that stitch in your side. While a lack of sodium is the main culprit behind muscle cramps, potassium plays a supporting role; you need it to replace sweat losses and help with fluid absorption. Bananas are also packed with energizing carbohydrates. One medium-size fruit has 400 milligrams of potassium and as many carbs (29 grams) as two slices of whole-wheat bread.
Whole Grain Bagels - Carbs are the optimal workout food. A whole-grain bagel is an ideal pre-sweat-session pick because the fiber causes you to digest it slowly, which will deliver a steady flow of energy over time rather than one big burst.
Berries - USDA researchers recently placed fresh berries on their list of the 20 foods richest in antioxidants. Just a handful of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries are an excellent source of these potent nutrients, which protect muscles from free radical damage that might be caused by exercise. Shop for berries by the shade of their skin: The deeper the color, the healthier the fruit.
Hummus - Complex carbohydrates, protein, and unsaturated fats - all the right elements to fuel activity - meet in one healthy little 70-calorie, 3-tablespoon package.
Carrots - Crunchy and satisfying as a snack, carrots pack complex carbs that provide energy to muscles and potassium to control blood pressure and muscle contractions.
Oranges - A rich source of vitamin C, oranges can be found year round and are easy to pack and eat on the run. Vitamin C also aids in making collagen, a tissue that helps keep bones strong.
Try grabbing one of these simple, flavorsome foods along with lots of water instead of a prepackaged “health” bar before heading to the gym next time. You may be surprised how easy it is to fuel yourself for workout in a quick and healthful way.
- Maureen Keyte
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