So, you’ve made your commitment to being more active for the Year of Wellness. Congratulations! Whether you are choosing to get moving to lose weight, train for an event, feel healthier, or for any other reason, to truly rake in the health benefits you can get from being active, fuel is key.
Eating healthy foods helps fuel your body so that it is ready to be physically active. Just like a car cannot run without gas, your body cannot run without fuel. If you have ever tried working out on an empty stomach, you may have experienced how much harder it can be to push yourself. With a solid fueling plan, you will have the physical and mental energy to work harder, burn more calories, and benefit even more.
Your fueling plan should include both what you eat and when you eat.
Use MyPlate as your guide for how much and what to eat. Try to have foods from each food group at each meal and choose foods and beverages that are lower in added sugars, sodium and fat. A good rule of thumb is to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables, half of your plate grains and protein, and include a serving of low fat or fat free dairy at each meal. To get even more bang for your buck, make at least half of your grains whole grains.
Protein helps build muscle, so it is very important to get enough. Choose these high-protein foods often: fish, chicken, eggs, beans, nuts, milk, cheese and yogurt. Most people eat most of their protein toward the end of the day. For your muscles, it is best to eat protein throughout the day, especially at breakfast. You can also use snacks as a way to fuel-up. Try yogurt, nuts, veggies and hummus, or apples and peanut butter for a tasty protein-filled snack.
In order to give your body the energy it needs, it is important to eat multiple meals during the day. When you skip meals, you leave your gas tanks empty. This can leave you both physically and mentally tired. When you are low on energy, exercising and just about everything else becomes more difficult. Eating three meals a day and snacking if you feel hungry is the best plan.
Practicing these healthy eating tips will help keep your body fueled up and ready to go in your commitment to be more active for the Year of Wellness.
Author: Liz Pate, OSU Dietetic Intern and Anne Goetze, RDN, LD, FAND