13 Healthy Snacking Strategies
For More Energy
Cut out crash-and-burn bites. If you're looking for foods to power you through workouts and long hours on the job, skip starchy, low-fiber fixes (cookies, pretzels, and so on). "For longer-lasting energy, eat a mix of protein, carbs, and fat, which don't pass through the digestive system as quickly," says Leslie Bonci, RD, director of sports medicine in the nutrition program at the University of Pittsburgh. Some suggestions: trail mix (made with nuts, cereal, and dried fruit), peanut butter on rye crisps, or a whole wheat pita topped with low-fat cheese.
Eat an hour before you exercise. Running on empty doesn't work -- just ask your car! Have a snack that's roughly two-thirds carbohydrates and one-third equal amounts of protein and fat. Let the intensity of your workout determine the portion size. "If you're doing 45 minutes of cardio plus 20 minutes of weights, you'll expend 500 calories or more," says Bonci. "A 100-calorie yogurt won't cut it; aim for 250 to 300 calories." Pre-workout snacks that fit the profile: a six-inch flour or corn tortilla spread with one tablespoon each of peanut butter and jelly plus a piece of fruit, or half a yogurt smoothie (like Yoplait Nouriche or Dannon Frusion) and a packet of instant oatmeal.
Eat within 20 minutes post-workout. Exercise draws energy from the glycogen that's stored in the muscles and liver. "You'll need to consume about 200 calories to replenish those stores," says Bonci. Choose a snack containing both carbohydrates and protein, such as a glass of low-fat chocolate milk and an apple, or half of a turkey sandwich.
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