Your Back To School Nutrition Questions Answered
By: GOLD Athlete Mag
A new school and practice schedule can make knowing when and what to eat a challenge. Still, making sure you're eating and drinking enough throughout the day to keep you healthy and energized is super important for sports performance. Every month, collegiate sports dietitian, Christine Steinmetz, is here to answer your most pressing sports nutrition questions.
If you have a question you'd like Christine to answer, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org!
GOLD: I have training sessions at 6 a.m., prior to school. I don’t want to wake up early to eat a full breakfast so I can get more sleep. Should I be eating anything before my training session? Is it okay to grab something on the way to practice?
CS: I always encourage my athletes to eat or drink something with carbohydrates prior to their exercise session. Great pre-exercise grab-and-go items could be fruit, granola bars, dried fruit, or smoothies. If you have a sensitive stomach and eating right before training doesn’t sit well, having a bedtime snack that is rich in carbohydrate like oatmeal or popcorn can help with your energy level the next morning.
GOLD: My school lunch period starts around 11 a.m., but my practice doesn’t start until 3:30 p.m. What types of snack foods can I pack with me to help with my hunger?
CS: Most of the time school and practice schedules are at fixed times. Packing snacks is a great way to help your energy level throughout the day and leading up to practice. You always want to ensure you are eating every 4-5 hours. Snacks should be rich in carbohydrate and be moderate in protein. Good combinations would be trail mix, fruit and almonds, or an English muffin and peanut butter.
GOLD: I know it’s important to hydrate, but I have no idea how much to drink throughout the day or what I should be drinking. Should I be drinking a sports drink during school to help?
CS: Hydration is very important, especially during the first 1 - 2 months of school as the weather is usually very warm and humidity can be high. Water is a great choice throughout the day to help keep you hydrated. You should try to consume at least 6 - 8 glasses of water during the school day and 1-2 cups prior to your exercise session. This will differ for each athlete, so ask your sports dietitian to help map out a hydration regimen. Sports drinks can be saved for immediately before practice, during, or after if the length of the practice is longer than one hour.
Christine Steinmetz is a registered dietitian and collegiate sports dietitian. She works with athletes to help them improve their sports performance and overall health through nutrition.
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