Food for energy
Starchy and other forms of carbohydrate provide a source of energy for your body to perform at its best, no matter what your sport or activity. In general, the more you exercise, the more carbohydrate you need to include in your daily meals and around exercise. A demanding exercise regime will use up your stored energy from carbohydrate quickly, so include some carbohydrate in most of your meals. A diet low in carbohydrate can lead to a lack of energy during exercise, loss of concentration, and delayed recovery.
Food before sport and exercise
You should allow about three hours before you exercise after having a main meal, such as breakfast or lunch. An hour before exercising, having a light snack that contains some protein, and is higher in carbohydrate and lower in fat, is a good choice to help you perform during your training and recover afterwards. Choose a snack that you’ll digest quickly, like:
- fruit, such as a banana
- a slice of wholegrain bread spread thinly with a nut butter
- a plain or fruit scone with low-fat cheese
- yoghurt or non-dairy alternatives
- cottage cheese and crackers
- a glass of milk or non-dairy alternatives
- What to eat after exercise
Food and drink also plays a part in recovering effectively from training.
If you train several times a day, refuelling with a source of carbohydrate and protein – such as a glass of milk and a banana – within 60 minutes of finishing your first session can help you recover faster.
If you’re training less than this or have more time to recover, make sure you dehydrate with water and eat as soon as you can afterwards. This might be your next main meal.
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