An effective daily workout routine needs the right diet. But fueling up for your fitness isn’t always simple...
What are the best foods to eat for exercising? When should you eat before and after you work out? And why is it so important to keep your fitness diet in check?
In this quick guide you’ll learn 7 simple tips for keeping your daily diet balanced for your movement breaks and workouts.
Let’s dig in!
Start with a healthy breakfast
No matter what your daily workout plan is, it’s important to fuel up early.
That means a healthy, balanced breakfast with the fuel you need to get going like carbohydrates and protein.
Try to avoid sugary cereals, processed or modified foods, sugary drinks and too much caffeine.
Some breakfast foods for a good start include:
- Whole grain cereals like kamut, quinoa, oatmeal or rolled oats
- Whole grain bread like whole wheat or whole rye
- Fruits like bananas, apples and blueberries
- Milks like dairy, oat, or almond
- Homemade smoothies with yogurt, fruit, greens and juice with no added sugar
When morning exercise is part of your routine, keep your breakfasts light and give yourself at least 30 minutes before starting your workout to avoid discomfort or lethargy.
Keep your exercise and eating habits regular
Healthy habits are incredibly beneficial when it comes to fitness, but the same thing is true for your diet too…
Try to make your eating habits an extension of your fitness habits. Keeping your diet regular helps your body adapt to your exercise and diet routine.
A regular exercise and diet routine also helps you avoid missing meals or working out when you’re too full or not full enough.
Diet and exercise affects everyone differently. Keep a log of how you feel after each workout and compare it to what you ate that day.
Make small tweaks to your diet and workout plan to find the perfect combination.
Fluids are fuel too
Exercise and diet affect your daily hydration needs as well and should not be overlooked.
Again, how much water you need in a day is different for everyone.
Make sure you’re getting the minimum daily amount while adding more fluid intake for your workouts based on duration and intensity of your routine.
Snack for nutrition
As long as you’re snacking and grazing in a healthy way, eating between meals is completely fine and necessary—especially when your day includes exercise and movement breaks.
Healthy snacking rich in vitamins and protein helps you keep your energy levels up and fuel your workouts without relying solely on complete meals.
Some good snack options before and after workouts are:
- Nuts or nut butters like almond or peanut
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cheese with whole grain crackers or rice cakes
- Tuna or other canned fish with whole grain crackers or bread
- Granola bars or granola with yogurt or milk
No matter what you choose to snack on, try to keep your snacks high in protein. Protein helps you keep your energy levels high and build muscle.
Don’t overdo it
Large portions right before you work out isn’t ideal. Keep your portions small and aim for protein-rich foods.
If you’re able, give yourself at least 30-60 minutes after eating before you start your workout, and wait 30-60 minutes after you workout before eating a large meal.
It will help you get the most fuel from your food and avoid digestive discomfort during your exercise.
Don’t underdo it
How much food you need to feel good before, after and during your workouts is different for everyone.
But it is important to know that working out on an empty stomach can sometimes lead to fatigue and light-headedness.
If you’re feeling sluggish or low energy during your workout, make a note and adjust before your next workout. The same thing goes for fluids as well.
Pick foods and dietary choices that fit your fitness
The goal is to find foods, snacks and a calorie intake that fits what you need for your fitness.
If you’re unsure about how many calories you need in a day, use the MyPlate Plan to calculate and then follow the labels and guidelines included with the food you buy.
Food for fitness
Your workouts should be comfortable and beneficial for your body, mind and lifestyle. Your diet is a big part of that.
The only way to find the perfect balance between diet and exercise is to track your exercise, be mindful of what you’re eating, stay aware of how it affects you, and aim to find the perfect combination.
It takes some experimentation, but with a bit of work and these 7 tips you’ll be on your way to your own personal recipe for a more active life.