Foods to support fitness for national Physical Fitness and Sports Month with snack and meal ideas.
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and the perfect opportunity to move more for better health! Originally designated in 1983, the goal of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is to raise awareness about the importance of fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle. Research indicates that it’s not just about looking good either. Regular movement has been linked to:
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
- Reduced risk of diseases and improved health-related conditions including heart disease, certain cancers, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and type 2 diabetes
- Improved mood and reduced risk of depression
- Increased energy
- Stronger bones
- Reduced stress
- Boosted brain power
- Reduced hunger
With so many benefits, it’s a wonder we don’t all spend more time getting more active during our days! Whether you are already a fan of fitness or just starting to add more movement to your schedule, it’s important to support your activities with proper nutrition. However you get daily activity, good nutrition throughout the day is a key to long-lasting energy. Healthy food and plenty of water all day long can mean the difference between giving up exhausted after 10 minutes and still going strong after 60 minutes. Working with a registered dietitian to create a personalized meal plan based on your goals can be a smart place to start. In general keep these tips in mind to eat healthy as you move more:
- Make most of your diet healthy with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Quality foods like these work together to help support your energy, vitamin and mineral needs throughout the day no matter what kind and how much movement you include. Calorie, fat, carbohydrate and protein recommendations vary based on a variety of factors such as age, weight, fitness level and goals which is where a registered dietitian can help.
- If you need a little extra boost in the hours before an intense workout or long game, consider a workout-friendly snack that mixes easily-digested carbs (embrace the carbs for energy!) and protein like these:
- Banana, almond butter, soy milk smoothie
- Cottage cheese with fresh or frozen berries
- Sliced pear and string cheese
- Brown rice with dried apricots and honey
- A handful of dried dates and almonds
- It’s never too soon to start thinking about your next workout, even if you just finished a workout! Within an hour of completing a workout, start loading up your energy stores again with a carbohydrate and protein-rich snack or light meal at your favorite local restaurant. Experts recommend approximately a 3:1 ratio (carbs to protein) for this energy replenishing snack. Try options such as:
- Fruit and yogurt parfait or smoothie
- Omelet with veggies and a side of fruit
- Hummus and pita bread
- Make healthy choices at home AND eating out at restaurants. While the occasional splurge can actually help keep you on track over the long run, Americans eat out an average of approximately 5 times per week, which is a lot more than an occasional meal! Stick to the same quality ingredients, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins in sensible portions when dining out to support your fitness and healthy lifestyle.
Get out and get active this month to celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and reap the health benefits!
How do you get active during your day? What foods do you rely on to support your activities?