Sports nutrition: finding your balance in times of isolation

With closed training rooms and a ban on group sports activities, an alternative had to be found to continue physical activity at home. However, not everyone has the equipment at their disposal to train effectively at home. Not to mention that staying motivated is an everyday challenge.

This physical activity decrease has had a significant impact on the entire population but also on athlete’s nutrition.

If you burn less energy and don’t change your eating habits, it will be difficult to stay in great shape. At the same time, food represents a source of comfort for some people during this difficult time.

How to keep the balance? Discover 8 tips to keep a healthy sports diet!

  1. Plan your meals at the beginning of the week
  2. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
  3. The importance of drinking water!
  4. Avoid sugar and salt
  5. No, you don’t need to size your portions!
  6. Promote fresh foods and protein
  7. Adjust your food to your sports activities
  8. Treat yourself and support local restaurants!

1. Plan your meals at the beginning of the week

On Sunday afternoons, plan the week’s meals and go grocery shopping, making sure to buy only what you need.

By preparing meals and lunches at the beginning of the week, you will know exactly what to eat each day. You’ll be able to resist the temptation to order from restaurants or cook frozen meals that are often highly processed.

Plus, by cooking your meals, you’ll be able to try new recipes. You can adjust them with less processed foods that are lower in saturated fat and sodium.

2. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are the most important foods to include in your menu. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and are essential to keep you and your children’s bodies healthy.

It is recommended that you eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables per day.

Yes, frozen fruits and vegetables count!

It’s very easy to integrate these foods into your menu. Also, many parents work from home these days. If that’s the case for you, you probably have more time to cook. Cut fruits and vegetables ahead of time. Your kids will be more likely to eat their daily 5 portions of fruits and vegetables if they are already cut for them.

3. The importance of drinking water!

Without a routine, it may be harder to think about drinking enough water every day, but water is essential for your body and general health.

Adults, set an alarm if you have to. It’s recommended that you drink between 2 and 2.5 liters of water per day.

Depending on children’s and teenager’s ages, they should drink between 1 and 1.5 liters of water every day. Even though fruits and vegetables contain a large amount of water, our bodies need more.

To help your children drink more water, buy them a nice reusable bottle and challenge them to drink its entire contents three times a day. This simple challenge will keep them hydrated and make them avoid large amounts of sugary drinks.

Don’t forget that for you as much as for your little ones, the more you move in a day, the more water you need.

4. Avoid sugar and salt

In times of isolation or in everyday life, we should always pay special attention to our salt and sugar consumption.

Be conscious of your food choices. Look at your food’s nutritional value to make sure you have less than 5% sodium. Avoid very sweetened soft drinks, concentrated fruit juices, and flavored milk. For dessert, try smaller portions or replace them with fresh fruits and yogurt.

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5. No, you don’t need to size your portions!

Eating is supposed to make you feel good. You don’t need to start measuring your portions to try to stay in shape. Eat what you want when you want it.

It is important to listen to your body, having a balance between your food and physical activity will simply make you feel better.

The same goes for your children, there’s no need to control their portions. They’re growing and they need energy. Let them eat as they wish, but make sure they continue to be active!

Try to eat slower and have your children eat their meals with water instead of sugary juices or milk.

The important thing during a period like this is to keep your motivation to train and to not fall into less healthy foods because it will be harder to get back to your normal habits afterward.

It’s simple : balance your diet, and enjoy every bite!

6. Promote fresh foods and protein

Try to keep only fresh and unprocessed foods in your refrigerator. Eating protein is very important because it satisfies your appetite and keeps you full until your next meal.

Canada’s Food Guide also recommends including plant-based proteins in your diet. These types of food provide less saturated fat and more fibers to your body, which increases satiety and helps your digestive health.

Choose from veggies, tofu, nuts, eggs and more – there are so many options!

For proteins, avoid eating red meat more than twice a week, instead favor white meat, such as chicken or fish for example. Don’t hesitate to buy your meats on discount and freeze them to help you out on weekdays !

If you buy dried or canned foods, pay special attention to added sugar and salt.

7. Adjust your food for sport activities

So what do we eat before physical activity?

For example, if you have less than 2 hours before a practice, as it often happens in the morning or on game nights, you should eat meals with a lot of carbohydrates, which are easy to digest.

Carbohydrates are your fuel and will give you the energy you need in order to perform well. Smoothies, chocolate milk and energy balls are good options before a morning workout.

It will be important to eat a meal with lots of protein and carbohydrates following your activity, for example, salmon with brown rice and vegetables.

If you have at least 3 hours before your exercise, choose a full meal. For example, if your practice or workout is scheduled just before dinner, use lunch to eat a meal that contains protein, vegetables, and starches. A good meal idea might be a chicken sandwich with a salad and yogurt with fresh fruit.

The idea is to burn the same amount of calories that you eat. Sport nutrition for health and performance is all about balance.

Don’t be afraid to snack! Between your physical activities or to make up for your energy losses throughout the day. A good snack should consist of a source of protein and a source of carbohydrates. A handful of nuts and a piece of fruit are a great snack option.

A piece of cheese with dried fruit will also do the trick!

8. Treat yourself and support local restaurants!

Remember that it’s normal to want to spoil yourself and not always feel in the mood for “healthy” food.

Be creative and reinvent your traditional recipes! Cooking a deluxe homemade poutine with onions, chopped carrots, and extra-old cheddar will change your menu. You could even do it with your kids! Making soups is always a good way to get some vegetables out of the fridge!

Support your local restaurants and order from one near you. This will change your routine and make the whole family happy. Food is heartwarming!

 

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