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Meal and snack ideas before and after activity

Plus bonus recipe

Whether you play a sport on the weekend or simply enjoy regular physical activity, a nutritious, well-balanced diet will help you to have enough energy to keep active. What people can tolerate eating before and after exercise differs from person to person, but here are our top tips.

Before physical activity

Prioritise carbohydrates for energy: eating carbohydrates before being active will give you a quick source of energy. Aim to eat a high carbohydrate meal 3-4 hours before doing any physical activity. If you are eating closer to the activity (e.g. 30-60 minutes before), aim for a snack that can be digested easily, such as a banana or white bread with honey.

Limit fat and fibre: foods higher in fibre and fat take longer for our bodies to break down, which may cause us to feel sluggish or have an upset stomach during the activity. So choose foods that will be easier to digest, like white toast with jam rather than wholegrain toast with avocado.

Ensure you are well hydrated: drink enough water so that you are well hydrated before engaging in physical activity.

Trial different foods to see what works best and makes you feel energised and ready to go.

Easy meals and snack ideas to have before physical activity

  • Yoghurt and fruit salad
  • Pasta with a tomato-based sauce
  • Toast/crumpet/muffin with jam or honey
  • Low-fat creamed rice
  • Banana smoothie with honey and low-fat milk

After physical activity

If you can easily access them, fresh unprocessed foods are the best option for recovery. However, sometimes we need to eat on the run and use more convenient food options.

Consume carbohydrates and protein: this will aid with muscle repair and replace energy stores.

Aim for a well-balanced meal: include a variety of vegetables to help your body and immune system recover.

Rehydrate: drink plenty of water to replace fluid lost during the activity.

Easy meals and snack ideas to have after physical activity

  • Yoghurt, muesli, and fruit salad
  • Spaghetti Bolognese with zucchini and carrot
  • Chicken/Tuna/Tofu salad sandwich
  • Fried rice with egg, mixed veggies, and chicken/tofu
  • Berry smoothie, milk and yoghurt or flavoured milk
  • Takeaway meat/egg & salad sandwich/wrap
  • Protein bar (15-30g protein) plus a banana
  • Baked broccoli cheddar quinoa bites (see recipe below)

The information provided is a guide. Remember that we are all different, and the type of physical activity we do will affect our personal energy and nutrient needs. For personalised advice see your health care provider.

 

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Baked broccoli cheddar quinoa bites

Quantity: 16

Method

  1. Preheat‌ ‌oven‌ ‌to‌ ‌200°C.‌ ‌
  2. Line‌ ‌16‌ ‌cups‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌24-cup‌ ‌mini‌ ‌muffin‌ ‌pan‌ ‌with‌ ‌paper‌ ‌liners‌ ‌or‌ ‌coat‌ ‌with‌ ‌cooking‌ ‌spray.‌
  3. Cook quinoa with 1/8 tsp. salt according to package directions. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Add broccoli, Cheddar, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the quinoa. Stir in egg.
  5. Divide the quinoa mixture among the prepared muffin cups, pressing firmly with lightly moistened fingers. Mist the tops with cooking spray.
  6. Bake until golden, 30-35 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove to the rack to cool completely.

Ingredients

  • ½‌ ‌cup‌ ‌uncooked quinoa‌
  • ¼ head of broccoli, ‌finely‌ chopped
  • ¾‌ ‌cup‌ ‌shredded‌ cheddar‌ ‌cheese‌
  • ½‌ ‌teaspoon‌ ‌baking‌ ‌powder‌
  • ½‌ ‌teaspoon‌ ‌garlic‌ ‌powder‌
  • ¼‌ ‌teaspoon‌ ‌onion‌ ‌powder‌
  • ¼‌ ‌teaspoon‌ ‌ground‌ ‌pepper‌
  • 1‌ ‌large‌ ‌egg,‌ ‌lightly‌ ‌beaten‌
  • Salt,‌ ‌to‌ ‌season‌
  • Cooking‌ ‌spray‌ or mini patty pans.

References

  1. www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
  2. www.eatforhealth.gov.au
  3. www.sportsdietitians.com.au

Last updated: June 26, 2024 at: 3:08 pm