When it comes to eating around training, it is really based on how much training you are doing. It doesn’t matter if you are a serious athlete or an everyday moderate exerciser, shaping your plate around your activity level is essential to help you meet your goals and maintain a healthy weight. Here are 5 ways to shape your plate based on your training:
- Light Workout Day: Light workout days don’t require as many calories as you are burning less. This does not mean you don’t eat, but instead means you shape your plate differently. On light training days, divide your plate up and make half of it vegetables. This can be salad, steamed, sautéed or raw vegetables; just make sure they are not lathered in butter or sauce. Then make a fourth of your plate a whole grain and the other fourth lean protein. If you still feel hungry, go back for more vegetables as the fiber and water will help you feel full for less calories.
- Moderate Workout Day: Working out more requires more calories and carbohydrates to fuel your body and help you recover. On these workout days, divide your plate into thirds and have a third whole grain carbohydrates, a third lean protein and a third vegetables. Sprinkle in a little healthy fat to help get a few more calories and add in a fruit for a little extra carbohydrate.
- Hard Workout Day: Hard workout days could be increased intensity or two-a-day training. Just like long trips require more gas in your car, hard workouts require more fuel in your energy tank. On heavy training days make half your plate whole grain carbohydrates, a fourth lean protein and a fourth vegetables. Add in healthy fat and a fruit at meals for extra fuel.
- Off Day: Though you are not working out, you still need to fuel. Eating smaller meals often will help you feel energized, recover faster and keep you from being as hungry over the course of the day. Try to get more calories in the morning and lean out your day of eating as you get closer to night time. No working out does not mean no eating, it means be smart about your eating.
- Snacks: Nutrient-rich snacks are essential to controlling portion sizes at meals. At mid-morning and afternoon snacks try to get in a whole grain carbohydrate or a fruit with a lean protein or healthy fat. Both protein and healthy fat help you feel full faster and stay full longer so include a small serving at your snacks.