What most of us dont realize is the need to make a few changes to our food intake to sustain energy while exercising during winter. Kelly Anne Erdman, a registered dietician and consultant to Winter Olympics athletes at the Canada Sports Centre in Calgary, says that while we need a combination of carbohydrate, protein and fat at every meal, we need to eat foods that are slightly higher in fat and protein about two to three hours before being active in the winter. Food warms up our core temperature. And your muscles work better when they are warm,” she says.
“Eating a little more will slow down the rate food leaves the stomach, sustaining your energy longer in the cold. She further asserts that you need a snack containing carbohydrate and protein within the first 30 minutes post-exercise to fuel your muscles and help them recover.
Else, you will lack the energy you need the next day when you hit the slopes. A complete healthy meal should follow 2-3 hours post-workout.
Winter pre-workout foods
Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate, rich in soluble fibre, and protein. Its fibrous content helps keep you keep fuller for longer, thereby, providing you with the very much needed energy for exercising. Add walnuts for more protein and unsaturated fat. Additionally, you may add sprinkle of cinnamon powder, which contains immune-boosting antioxidants.
Citrus fruit salad
Winter fibrous fruits like oranges and grapefruit contain vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system. Add yoghurt, whose protein content will help sustain energy levels; and honey, which is a natural sweetener with antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Chocolate protein shake
Cocoa is one of the best winter foods and it is loaded with antioxidants. Just pop the following in your blender for the ultimate cocoa power shake:
- 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
- 1 tsp. of peanut butter or almond butter
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. cocoa powder
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of non-fat soymilk
- 4 ice cubes
Youre probably not inclined to drink cold water so fuel up with decaffeinated chai or herbal teas instead.
Winter post-workout foods
Hydrate and refuel immediately after exercise with homemade hot chocolate made with skimmed milk, 100% cocoa and sweetened to taste. The milk will give you a pop of protein and carbohydrate, while the cocoa will provide the antioxidants.
Sweet potatoes are among the favourite winter foods. A complex carbohydrate that helps sustain energy for a longer time, it is also loaded with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Besides, all root vegetables are warming foods. According to Janine Bowring, a naturopath in Woodbridge, Ont., eating hot foods when it is cold will help keep you warm.
Skinless turkey sandwich is one of the best sources of lean protein. Use wholegrain bread for soluble fibre and you may add partly skimmed mozzarella for additional protein and healthy fat. Skinless chicken can be substituted for turkey but keep in mind that it contains more calories and cholesterol. So you may want to rethink the mozzarella if you use chicken.
Try the above foods this season and enjoy your winter fitness!
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