Health

The best walking foods

What you should eat to fuel up before your power walk and to regain lost nutrients post-workout

You’ve laced up your runners, slapped on your reflective wristlets and strapped your water bottle to your waist – what are you forgetting? Well, did you fuel up? Eating the right foods before and after working out may be just as important as the workout itself. Kirsten Bustamante, personal trainer and owner of Stretch Fitness Boutique in Toronto shares the best foods – and the worst foods – to eat before and after your workout to fuel your body, turning it into an efficient fat-burning machine.

Before your workout

Stick with simple foods and, yes, eat carbs, which are easily broken down and will give you energy for your workout.

• Piece of fruit, such as a banana
• Homemade fruit smoothie (1/4 cup of plain low fat yogourt, handful of fresh fruit and 1/2 cup of low-sugar fruit juice blended with ice cubes)
• 1/2 whole-wheat bagel with 2 tbsp light cream cheese
• Yogourt and fresh fruit
• Vegetables and low-fat dip

Avoid foods that are high in fat, high only in fibre or protein, or heavy meals, such as meat and eggs. Your body will have a difficult time breaking down those foods fast enough, which may leave you feeling sluggish. Also, avoid high-calorie snacks, such as chocolate bars and candy, which will give you empty calories that won’t fuel your body.

After your workout

Make sure you have something to eat or drink within 30 minutes. The worst thing you can do is wait too long after your workout to eat. Your post-workout snack should include both proteins and carbohydrates, since there’s a small window of time after you exercise – about 20 to 45 minutes – when the body is able to break down these foods quicker to replenish and repair the muscles.

• Glass of milk/chocolate milk
• Protein shake containing up to 10 percent carbohydrates
• Small bowl of whole grain cereal with skim or partly skimmed milk
• Sports drink, such as Gatorade or Propel
• Yogourt with fresh fruit

Avoid high-fat foods with low nutritional value, such as fried foods, burgers or pizza, eggs and bacon, coffee and doughnuts, nuts and candy – they’ll do nothing to help refuel your body or repair your muscles.