ICYMI, food and exercise are very closely related. What you eat before, during, and after you exercise can actually make or break a workout, and affect your fitness results.
While broad workout food rule is right carbohydrates pre-workout, and a smart combination of lean proteins and carbs post-workout, here's how you can break it down!
Making Pre-Workout Meals More Efficient
An ideal pre-workout snack should be a high quality carbohydrate one to three hours before workout to ensure enough muscle glycogen as fuel. This can help improve endurance exercise performance as carbohydrates rapidly fuel muscles, reducing some of the physiological stress of working out and prompting less inflammation afterward.
Avoid refined or simple sugars (such as candy or even fruit juice). High-sugar foods may cause your blood-sugar levels to drop quickly during exercise, which can leave you feeling light-headed and tired.
You can include foods such as low-fat granola bars, fig bars, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a banana.
Here are some easy, go-to recipes!
No Bake Mixed Nut Protein Bar
Start by combining the following ingredients in a bowl:
⅓ cup mixed nuts (pista, almonds, macadamia)
⅓ cup berries of choice
½ banana cut in slices
1/3 cup milk of choice (dairy or non dairy),
and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
Shape the mix in the form of a bar and pop in the fridge for an hour before eating.
Fun Granola Bar
Make this Granola Bar simply by following these steps:
Toast 1 cup walnuts in an oven for 10-15 minutes.
Let them cool, then grind in the mixer-grinder (for a few minutes) with one and 1/2 cup dates, 1 cup desiccated (fresh or dried) coconut and 1/4th cup cranberries till the mixture combines and has a crumbly texture.
Now add gradually 1.5 tbsp water (more if need be), and keep processing until the mixture is sticky and holds together.
Place in a dish, press down firmly and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours, then cut in to bars and sprinkle with some more desiccated coconut.
Baked Apples and Oats
To make this:
Start by pre-heating the oven to 180 C.
Lightly oil a baking dish.
Peel, core and slice 3 apples.
Combine with juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/4th tsp ginger paste, 1/4th tsp cinnamon and 1 tbsp apple juice concentrate (optional) or water. Spoon into the baking dish.
Mix 1/2 cup of assorted nuts (almond, cashews, walnuts), 1 tbsp raisins, 1/2 cup oats, a pinch of baking soda and 2 tbsp honey.
Sprinkle over apple mixture. Bake until topping is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Let it cool a bit and divide into slices.
Enjoy a slice warm and store the rest int he fridge cut into bars!
Seedy, Crumbly Bars
Soak 1 cup dates for a few minutes in warm water and then grind till they become like a ball.
In a bowl mix with 3/4th cups oats and 1/4th cup almonds (both roasted in a pre heated oven at 180 C for 15 minutes).
Add 2 tbsp each of any three roasted seeds (sunflower, flax, hemp, melon… etc).
Pour slightly warmed up 1/4th cup peanut butter and 1/4th cup of honey and mix well.
Now flatten the mixture and chill in a refrigerator for a few hours.
Finally, cut into bars and dig in!
Eating Post-Workout with Mindfulness
Don’t reward yourself with rich foods and/or large portions of food after exercising, you might end up eating back all of (if not more than) the calories they just burned.
Choose smart and allow for a cool-down period of about thirty minutes to an hour after your workout before eating.
Your post-workout meal/snack should be a combination of fast absorbing carbohydrate and protein that is quick and easy to absorb. The carbohydrates will replenish your energy reserves and proteins will rebuild the muscle tissues damaged during a workout.
Some of your post-workout meal options can include a combination of low-fat dairy (a great recovery food with plenty of protein) like yoghurt or Greek yoghurt, almond milk, and a fruit or berries, or some vegetables.
Some post-workout recipes include:
This is super easy recipe!
Simply, Blend cottage cheese along with sugar, milk, and vanilla essence using a mixer into a paste.
Place one bowl of mixed fruits cut into small pieces (banana, kiwi, orange, grape, chickoo, apple, etc.) in a bowl.
Add the paste, mix it gently, and dig in!
Green and White Delight
A super fresh sandwich with everything you will easily find at home!
Just place a thick fresh square of paneer on a bread slice slathered with a spicy coriander chutney. Sprinkle salt and red chilly.
Place onion rings on top, thin slivers of green chilly, finally chopped green capsicum, carrot, and cabbage.
Top with another slice slathered with green chutney.
And its ready to eat!
Banana, Anar and Flaxseeds Raita
Chop 1 banana and mix in with beaten yoghurt.
Add some anar, a tsp of honey and sprinkle 1 tbsp roasted flaxseeds and enjoy!
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of The Don't Diet Plan: A no-nonsense guide to weight loss, Fix it with Food, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks, and The Immunity Diet and 500 Recipes: Simple Tricks for Stress Free Cooking.)