Healthy after game snack idea's
The feeling you get from giving it your all, totally pushing your body to perform at it's best and playing hard is one of the finest sensations we can experience. That rush of endorphins and the satisfaction you get from a first rate effort, whether it be on the footy field, basketball court or running track, makes participating in sport worth every drop of sweat. When you've used every ounce of energy in your body it's tempting to refuel with convenience foods like energy bars, confectionery and fast food. You've worked hard, right? You probably burnt 5 Mars bars worth of calories during the game, plus you're STARVING!
Stop for just a second and consider the best thing for your body at this time. Your muscle proteins have broken down, your carbohydrate stores are depleted, electrolyte levels are bottoming out and you are in need of serious hydration. The Mars bar is not going to cut it, your body needs replenishing with foods to help it recover not make it work harder.
Sports nutrition experts have found that the best time for refuelling is in the first 30 minutes after exercise when the body is most receptive to vital nutrients. For this reason it pays to be organised and have your post game snack ready to eat shortly after you come off the field or as soon as you get home.
What to eat after sport
The short answer is lean protein and carbohydrates. This is clearly open to a lot of scope so you'll definitely be able to find something delicious which ticks all the flavour boxes for you.
- Eggs - the post workout snack which combines both protein and carbohydrates plus is full of 11 vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fats and antioxidants.
- Brown rice, quinoa - both contain carbs, protein and fibre and will fill you up fast, plus they contain magnesium, iron and potassium.
- Fruit - fruit is the perfect after sport food as it is convenient, no preparation needed and it's easy to eat. Fruit such as banana's, kiwi fruit, blueberries, pineapple and oranges top the list. They're bursting with antioxidants (fights muscle soreness), potassium (electrolytes), glycogen (to help rebuild muscles), calcium (strong bones), bromelain (a natural anti-inflammatory which helps heal bruises, sprains and swelling) and vitamin C (for muscle tissue repair and iron absorption).
- Salmon and tuna - lean fish is a great source of protein and omega-3 fats to help rebuild muscles.
- Whole grain - whole grain bread, crackers, wraps etc combined with lean protein such as chicken, turkey, tuna and salad provide a killer combo of healthy carbs and protein.
- Greek yoghurt - contains double the protein than other styles of yoghurt. Throw together with some nuts and dried fruit for a great after sport snack.
It's possible to replenish your bodies lost nutrients and help with recovery without needing expensive powders, protein bars and shakes with all these great vitamin and mineral packed natural food sources.
Next time you're heading out to play, leave the energy bars at home and grab a healthy option for your post game snack instead. Your body will thank you.