/ by Shorus Minella, RD, LD
Shorus Minella, a dietitian at the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute, answers some common questions about what you and your kids should be eating before and after exercise.
Providing your body with the proper nutrients will help your whole family stay fit and active – and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle is important for you and your children. Whether you’re participating in the Keeneland Gatepost Gallop presented by UK HealthCare or simply exercising for fun, you may have questions about what to eat when you’re active.
Are certain foods beneficial for an active family?
Any recipe that includes a lot of food groups such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables would be a positive choice.
Vitamins and minerals from these foods will provide your body with energy and help empower you for your exercise. Including fiber in your diet will sustain you, and you will feel satisfied longer.
What should I eat before and after exercising?
Right before exercising, steer away from eating a very heavy meal. Instead, you could prepare a snack consisting of fruits and grains. After your workout or exercise, focus on eating protein such as nuts, seeds or granola bars, to help replenish your strength.
Smoothies are a great option for cooling off after exercising in the heat and fruit helps with hydration. You can start by using your favorite fruits, 100% fruit juice – or even an avocado – blended together with ice.
What types of healthy snacks will my kids like?
Kids tend to gravitate toward fruit, and fruit is beneficial because they have carbohydrates that provide energy before and after exercising. Fruit is also a great snack because it is hydrating. You can make snacks fun and inviting – like giving kids a variety of colors in a fruit salad – and remember to pair fruit with another food such as yogurt for a well-rounded snack.
What is the best plan for eating prior to exercising? How long before exercising should we eat and how much?
This depends on the specific individual and the type of exercise. In general, eat at least 30 minutes before you work out so you give yourself time to digest your meal.
What are your top nutrition takeaways?
- Make sure your meals are balanced.
- Get your calories from whole food sources.
- Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Limit added sugars to feel most sustained throughout your workout.