Lynn Beattie, Department of Public Health.
Lynn is a Nutrition Education Specialist with DPH.
This year marks the 116th anniversary of the Boston Marathon - the world’s oldest, and arguably most prestigious, marathon. On Monday, April 16th thousands of individuals from around the globe will lace up their running shoes for a 26 mile race from Hopkinton to the Boston finish line. Rigorous standards require the runners to meet qualifying times ranging from 3 to 5 ½ hours. It’s easy to be inspired by these world-class athletes!
This makes April the perfect time to build on that inspiration and get motivated to do some running, or other form of physical activity, yourself! The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) also offers a 5K (3.1 miles), 10K (6.2 miles), and 2 mile holiday runs throughout the year, so don’t count yourself out of the races if you aren’t marathon-ready. In fact, the B.A.A. website offers training schedules available for download to help you gradually and safely get in shape for your first run. No matter your physical activity of choice, all workouts should be paired with healthy meals and snacks for optimal performance and general health.
Try some of the following snack, meal, and hydration ideas to compete like a champion. They incorporate a super mix of muscle-building protein, energy-fueling complex carbohydrates, and heart-healthy fats to ensure you stay ahead of the pack!
3-4 hours before your activity, try:
Oatmeal with almonds, banana, and low-fat or skim milk
Low-fat cottage cheese with slices of apples, cinnamon, and whole wheat crackers
Tuna melt with low-fat cheese, whole wheat bread and a piece of fruit
For a full recovery after exercising:
Smoothie made with Greek-style (for extra protein) yogurt, frozen berries, and low-fat milk or other dairy alternative
Graham crackers with peanut butter and banana, with a glass of skim or low-fat milk
Whole wheat pita sandwich with turkey, vegetables, and low-fat cheese
Brown rice with beans, low-fat cheese, salsa, guacamole, mixed in a whole wheat pita or wrap
It is important to get adequate hydration before, during, and after exercising:
For short bouts of exercise less than an hour, water makes a great choice
Longer periods of a moderate to high level intensity activity can benefit from a sports drink with added carbohydrates and electrolytes
Always remember that activity limits and nutrition needs vary based on the person, the activity, and how long the activity lasts. Talk to a sports and/or health professional, such as a registered dietitian, to make sure you are training and fueling effectively. With the right exercise and nutrition regimen, soon you too will be off to the races!
Snack, meal, and hydration tips adapted from “Athletes in the Arts Fact Sheets” provided online by the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.