Food as Fuel for Active Living


What we eat and drink can make a big difference in how our body feels, particularly when it comes to being active. We put gas in our car if we want to reach our destination just like we put food in our bodies. Otherwise, we will be “driving on empty.”

Everyone’s body and digestive system are different. The activities we choose from walking to running vary in time and intensity. For everyday movement, eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of water is usually all that you need. A great resource is the MyPlate initiative by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can get tips for making healthy choices with ideas on how even small changes can have a big impact.

You might be wondering what to keep in mind about nutrition to support your active lifestyle.
Here is some food for thought:

  • Hydrate well throughout the day. Often we might think we are hungry when what our body really needs is water. Hydration is especially important before, during and after you work out.
  • Feed your body some fuel with a small snack within two hours of when you plan to workout. This might include a banana with peanut butter, low-fat yogurt with granola or a handful of almonds.
  • Carbohydrates are the bodies main source of fuel. When you workout, you burn carbohydrates. For everyday movement, eating regularly planned meals will replenish your body. For high intensity workouts, or for activity longer than 60 minutes, you may want to replenish your body by pairing carbohydrates and proteins within the first hour after you finish your activity.
  • Proteins are your best friend. Eating protein rich foods help to repair and grow muscle. Repairing your body helps to keep you healthy and active throughout the week.
  • Remember that it can take time to learn how your body responds to different foods. For some, a glass of milk is a great snack. For others, dairy products do not mix with working out.

Resource: 10 Tips for combining good nutrition and physical activity by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Thank you to Quirk Chevrolet for helping St. Joseph Healthcare drive health forward in our community.

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