August 16th, 2018

Fuel yourself for the season to come

By None on August 10, 2018.

For many athletes the summer months are a key time for off-season training. Healthy snacks and meals are important to provide enough energy and protein for athletes to train and build strength and endurance. But with the summer heat we experience in Southern Alberta it can be challenging for anyone, including athletes, to want to spend time in the kitchen cooking.

So how do athletes eat healthy snacks and meals to beat hunger, fuel performance and recover from training sessions? The key is choosing foods that are fresh and tasty and easy to prepare to ensure that their hard work in training is not undone by poor food choices. Here are some snack and meal ideas that require little cook time.

Smoothies. Prepare a smoothie in minutes with a blender and take it on the go. Basic ingredients include Greek yogurt (for extra protein), frozen fruit and milk. Additions such as peanut butter, flax seed, chia seeds or spinach can also add a nutrition boost. Smoothies are great before or after a training session!

Frozen watermelon. Frozen watermelon makes a sweet hydrating snack that can help cool down an athlete. Cut watermelon into slices, trim off rind and insert popsicle stick and freeze for a watermelon popsicle. Another option is cutting watermelon into cubes and freeze and enjoy bite sized. Frozen watermelon can also be blended to make a watermelon slush.

Hummus with fresh crunchy vegetables and whole grain crackers. Instead of chips and dip try this snack as a healthy alternative. Chickpea spread has protein and fibre and is lower in saturated fat then regular dip. Pair hummus with fresh carrots, bell pepper strips, cucumbers, and whole grain crackers or pita wedges.

Quesadillas. Try a new twist on a quesadilla with a PB and J option. Spread peanut butter on a whole wheat quesadilla. Top with sliced strawberries and bananas. Spread strawberry jam on second whole wheat quesadilla and lay face down on top of sliced fruit. Place tortilla in skillet and grill for a couple minutes on each side and enjoy with a glass of milk. For a savory option, spread refried beans or canned black beans on whole wheat tortilla. Add grated cheese, chopped tomato, and green onion and top with second whole wheat tortilla. Grill and serve with salsa and a salad.

Fruit pizza. Take a whole grain pita or flatbread and spread with a thick layer of Greek yogurt. Top with fresh fruit such as kiwis, strawberries, raspberries or bananas and sprinkle with nuts, seeds, coconut or granola. Slice into triangles and enjoy.

Baked potato with fixings. Microwave a potato until soft. Add grated cheese, canned brown or black beans, green onions and salsa for a quick no fuss meal full of protein, carbohydrates and fibre.

Beat the summer heat with healthy easy to prepare meals to support your training.

Kimberlee Brooks, RD, MSc, is a sport dietitian with the Alberta Sport Development Centre and can be reached at kbrooks@mhc.ab.ca.

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