by Linda Robert, www.eatwellwithlinda.com
Before you get to the rink for on-ice or off-ice training, you need energy to give you endurance, strength and even mental alertness. And you need that energy without stomach upset, jitters, or bloating.
Nutrient timing makes the difference between an amazing solo or one lacking energy. Since protein and fat take longer to digest then carbohydrates (the sugars), loading them close a practice can cause stomach issues. Eat foods high in protein (like chicken and beef), fiber and fat meals more than one to two hours before a practice.
For a practice less than 1 hour:
20 minutes before, eat whole-food-based simple carbohydrates, such as fruit, for an instant burst of energy.
For practices longer than 1 hour:
Pair your simple carb with a small amount of easily digestible protein to help to sustain your energy. Remember, if you just eat a sugar before your long practice, this may cause you to fatigue half-way through.
Here are my 5 favorite pre-workout energy boosters to get the most from your workouts. Don’t forget to pack them in your bag to avoid having to buy unhealthy and unenergetic options from the snack bar at the rink.
- Fresh fruit
Fruit is one of the best sources of simple carbs for a boost of energy immediately pre-workout. Fruit is easily digestible, can be bought anywhere and easily transported in a workout bag.
- Trail Mix
If fruit alone gives you instant energy, but your stomach can handle more protein and fat close to your practice, and you’d like energy that is sustained throughout your workout, reach for trail mix. Make your own by mixing your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit. A favorite of mine is raw almonds, dried cherries, caca nibs, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, sea salt and cinnamon. A nut free combo could be some pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, dried fruit, sea salt and cinnamon.
- Hummus with Red Pepper
If you are looking for a snack to boost energy and satisfy your hunger, hummus with red pepper slices is one of my favorites. Hummus is a good source of protein, carbs and iron providing sustainable energy. Iron deficiency is a significant cause of fatigue, low energy, and anemia, especially in young girls. Pairing iron-rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C, such as red peppers, helps to increase the absorption of iron.
- Banana with almond butter (or sunflower seed butter for nut free option)
Almond butter provides a great source of protein and healthy fats to sustain energy during workouts, while the banana helps to provide an immediate source of energy. Add a sprinkle of chia sees for an extra boost of energy.
- Energy Bars
Energy bars are controversial in the nutrition world, since most have enough sugar to qualify as a candy bar. However, the bars are also easy to grab and pack for a pre-workout snack. For healthier bars, you’ll want to look for a bar with minimal sugar (ideally from fruit sources), no added sugar and only three or four real ingredients that you can pronounce. The ones I recommend are fruit and nut bars like the ones from Larabars (which you can find at Costco) and KIND Bars. You can also make your own.
15 Medjool Dates, pitted
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup cashews
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp water
Mix the almonds, coconut and cashews in the food processor until fine. Then add the dates, oil and water and pulse until a dough forms. Line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper leaving enough room for some to come out the sides. That way, the bars will be easy to remove and cut with a pizza cutter. Press down the down so that it is packed well and place in the fridge to set. It will take an hour or two. Slice them into bars. I like to wrap the bars individually and keep them in the fridge. These should keep in the fridge for a couple weeks.