Before you leave for a day of hiking, biking, snowshoeing or skiing consider stuffing a few snack items into your pockets or a small backpack. Having foods and beverages to snack on throughout the first half of your day can really improve your energy, strength and performance during activity. If you go all morning without eating, your glycogen stores will be depleted, and your legs might feel heavy and tired after you break for lunch.
Morning Snack Items for your backpack or pocket:
Granola bars with nuts and dried fruit
Apple slices or grapes
Almonds and dried apricots
Banana or zucchini bread
Whole grain muffins
Crackers and cheese
Energy bar (Cliff, Lara or Vega)
Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich
Pack a Lunch:
If you plan to be out all day, pack a lunch or choose your restaurant wisely. If you plan to carry on with activity after lunch, this meal should not be too heavy as you still have an afternoon of work to do. Avoid anything greasy or deep fried becasue a high fat meal will take longer to digest and may leave you feeling sluggish.
From home a sandwich, raw vegetables and fruit, smoothies, leftover pasta or soup are good options. If you are near a grocery store or restaurant, a bowl of soup and sandwich, chili, or panini are great choices. Add a fruit or vegetable sticks if they are available and make water your beverage of choice.
After your day of outdoor activity, if you plan on being active again tomorrow, try to have a snack or meal containing carbohydrate with a small amount of protein within an hour of finishing. This snack is important for replenishing glycogen stores in your muscles and liver. Chicken wings and poutine are not the best recovery snacks after a day of activity. There are lots of healthy choices you whip up at home.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Hydrate! Water first.
- Fruit and vegetables are a great source of potassium and carbohydrates which will need replacing after a day of exercise. They are also great low calorie starters when you are hungry and will help fill you up before your main dish.
- Get some lean protein to help repair those muscles. Grilled chicken, fresh shrimp or prawns, salmon, edamame and hummus are all great choices.
- Choose whole grains such as whole wheat bread or buns for your burger or sandwich, tortilla chips for nachos and whole grain pitas with hummus. Barley in soups and quinoa in salads are also great options. Carbs will help replenish those glycogen stores, so you are ready to exercise again tomorrow.
At the local eatery or pub:
Order water before beer. Quench your thirst with water and you will drink less beer.
- chicken quesadillas (watch the sour cream)
- Sushi (no tempura) and edemame
- Flat bread with vegetables and a lean protein
- Veggies and hummus dip
- Fruit smoothies if they offer them
- Fruit salad and a hot chocolate
- Bowl of vegetable soup
- Turkey club sandwich minus the bacon
- Bowl of chili
- Grilled salmon on a salad
- Breakfast wrap
- Rice bowls with vegetables and chicken
- Prawn or chicken satay
- Tortilla chips and salsa
Items to make at home:
Nacho Platter- Use baked tortilla chips, lower fat cheese (try half part skim mozzarella), use low fat sour cream or 0% MF Greek yogurt and add diced peppers, tomatoes, sliced black olives, pickled jalapeños, and diced onion for added interest and flavor. Put out extra salsa on the side for dipping those pieces that have less cheese. Guacamole is another healthy addition to a nacho platter.
Healthy Dips- make your own hummus or bean dip. Add garlic, sesame tahini, lemon and cumin for taste. Try yogurt blended with basil, pine nuts and garlic for a yogurt pesto dip or fat free cream cheese and sundried tomatoes to spread on Kashi 7 grain crackers.
Triple Layer Dip – Everyone has their own version of this dip. Mine is heart healthy using layers of black beans, salsa, cheddar cheese, purple onions and avocado. Use baked tortilla chips or try brown rice chips for a change.
Crackers and Cheese – Why not skip the cheese and the crackers? Use sliced cucumber rounds for the base and a dollop of hummus on top. You can also top them with smoked salmon light cream cheese, roasted red pepper dip or tatziki.
Quesadillas – try papaya and brie with jalapeño peppers or blue cheese and pear. Serve with a salsa instead of sour cream and go easy on the cheese.
Prawns – Don’t forget the ever so simple prawn ring. Served with sea food sauce it is low calorie and tasty.
Chicken Tenders- rather than chicken wings, grill chicken tenders on skewers under the broiler and serve with Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce.
Pizza- Make your own pizza on ready made whole grain crusts, add tomato sauce, spinach, pepper slices and grilled chicken and go easy on the cheese.