Food is the fuel for our bodies — and as we all know, putting in bad fuel will not keep your engine running at its top capacity. That’s why, especially for athletes, it is essential to choose the right type of snacks in order to keep your body at its best.
In fact, athletes burn a great deal of calories during workouts and sporting events, so simply eating three healthy meals each day really isn’t enough. It’s important to have snacks throughout the day so that both your body and mind have the proper amount of energy for the intensity that you need.
But before you start scanning the chip aisle at the convenience store for snacks, you have to be smart about what to have in order to best satisfy your munchies cravings. So here are a few suggestions on what to consume to give you the best benefit for your mental and physical health.
Fresh Veggies and Fruits
Although fresh vegetables and fruit may seem clichÃ©, they really are the most classic of all healthy snacks. By having an apple or some carrots, you can help to satisfy that hungry craving, while at the same time getting the fiber and nutrients that will help to support a good nutritious diet. These foods will also give you a little pick-me-up, especially in the late afternoon when you may start to feel tired and lethargic.
After a good workout or game, you need to replenish the sodium that is lost from your body. Having a sports drink is a great way to do this. It’s also good to take in some post-workout protein and carbs, so you may want to compliment your recovery drink with a small helping of pretzels and peanut butter or popcorn sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
Â Milk / YogurtÂ
Your every day sports nutrition plan should include some dairy in the form of milk, yogurt, or similar substances. These are considered “whole foods,” meaning that they are fresh food choices that are close to being in their natural form. Some examples of good snacks in this category can include one cup of yogurt, two ounces of processed cheese, or two cups of cottage cheese.
People often avoid nuts, thinking that they aren’t healthy due to their high fat content. Yet, eaten in lower quantities, nuts offer you several important nutrients as well as unsaturated fatty acids. It’s important, though, to be sure and pick up the dry roasted variety. Otherwise, you could find yourself with more of the saturated — and unhealthy — fatty acids that could not only cause weight gain but can also cause harm to your cardiovascular system.
Believe it or not, chocolate — yes, chocolate — can be a healthy snack food! That’s right — pure chocolate, eaten without any of the extras like cream filling or nugget, actually contains a high amount of cocoa. And cocoa contains a number of nutrients that are not just good for your body, but for your overall health as well. Here again, it is important to be careful not to overdo your chocolate consumption, as anything in excess is likely to be too much.
Janet Lynch is a writer and fitness enthusiast. She is also a big fan ofÂ dietÂ delivery food to help her stay on track.