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Ask the experts: Food for exercise

Reviewed by our expert panel
Ask the experts: Food for exercise

Q: " I am finding that after I do a workout I am really hungry and often make bad choices in what I eat. Can you give me any tips on what would be a good snack to have that will curb my cravings without ruining the hard work I have just done!"


A: We asked nutritionist Claire Turnbull to help:

"One of the key steps to success with eating and exercise is timing. Aim for a meal or snack based on low-Glycaemic Index (GI), low-fat foods 2-3 hours before your workout. This includes grainy bread, pasta, basmati rice, oats and low-fat dairy products. You could try: a grainy bread sandwich; a bowl of porridge with chopped fruit; low-fat yoghurt with a tablespoon of muesli; a healthy pasta salad; or basmati rice with canned tuna and salad. This will supply a slow and steady release of energy throughout your workout. If you exercise after work (around 5.30-6pm) you could try having a lighter lunch and a more significant afternoon snack at 3.30-4pm to fuel you for your exercise.

If you are working out for up to 60 minutes, water will be all you need to take with you. Afterwards, aim to have a healthy snack based on carbohydrate and protein. Within half an hour is an ideal time for this snack to help refuel your body and repair your muscles. You could try: a low-fat yoghurt and small banana; 8-10 rice crackers with a small can of tuna or salmon; a small bowl of flakey cereal and low-fat milk; a glass of milk and a kiwifruit or orange; or an English muffin with peanut butter and a sliced banana. If you find you need a bigger snack after exercise to keep you alert, just have a smaller dinner."

First published: Jan 2009
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