7 Essential Energy and Recovery Foods

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by Stack Magazine

Stock these carbohydrate- and protein-rich foods in your athlete’s sports bag so they will always be prepared for performance and ready to bounce back strong.

Your athlete’s body works ‘round the clock to repair itself. But their hefty workload means they need the right tools available at all times. New York Giants nutrition consultant Heidi Skolnik offers the following list of portable foods to keep on hand so your athlete’s body will always be energized to work out and recover.

A single-serving box is an easy way to transport energy to your athlete’s muscles. When approaching practice or a game, opt for one with low-fiber content, such as Quaker Life cereal.

Beef jerky
Beef jerky has salt, which athletes lose a lot of through sweat, and it offers about 10 grams of protein per serving, good for muscle building. Most athletes require between 10-20 grams of protein post-workout to facilitate muscle repair and recovery.

Bananas are a great source of carbohydrate for energy and potassium, which aids in regulating electrolyte balance and muscle contraction. Bananas are a quick and easy pre-exercise snack.

Energy bar
Keep a high-carb one handy as a reserve pre-practice energy source. Skolnik prefers consuming it about one hour prior.

The most appropriate time for an energy gel or a sports drink such as Gatorade is during activity, Skolnik says. She notes the need to take in between 30 and 60 grams of carbs per hour. Gatorade delivers 14 grams per eight ounces, along with key electrolytes [sodium, potassium and chloride] to help maintain hydration and prevent cramping.

A quarter-cup of almonds delivers about 15 grams of healthy fats, along with a high dose of antioxidants, such as vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps protect muscles against the oxidative stress from intense activity. Skolnik recommends pairing with apricots for a more satiating snack.

Dried Fruit
Dried fruits are good sources of carbohydrate, fiber and antioxidants. Bonus: dried fruit doesn’t bruise.


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