Portable Pre- and Post-activity Meals

September 1, 2007 | Featured in the September 2007 Issue

Must See Nutrition Videos

Pre-activity
Three hours before

The biggest misconception about pre-activity fueling is that you shouldn’t eat, but you’ll actually compromise your performance by not fueling up, Liz Applegate says. She recommends a high-carbohydrate pre-activity meal. “Carbs are like topping off the tank, like in a car, with the energy you’ll need to go the distance,” she says. “They fuel your brain, and keep it alert and ready for hand-eye coordination and accuracy.”

She suggests foods that are easy to digest, which means no protein bars or beef jerky; high-protein foods sit in your stomach, as do high-fat foods like regular chips and candy bars. You’ll also want to avoid certain vegetables and high fiber cereals because such foods will speed intestinal track motion, which means you might have to take a couple stops to the bathroom during practice or a game.

Depending on your size and exercise intensity, Applegate says to consume up to 800 calories, which you can get from the following meal: 12 to 16 ounces of a sports drink; one slice of whole-grain bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter, topped with banana slices and drizzled lightly with honey; a pear; and an energy bar (Applegate recommends Clif, Odwalla and Powerbar).

If you require more calories, whole-grain crackers, low-fat yogurt topped with granola and baked chips are all easy, portable options. Applegate also recommends keeping the following staples in your backpack or gym bag:

  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Trail mix with dried fruit [e.g., mangoes, apricots or raisins]
  • Energy bar

Post-activity
30- 60 minutes after

Just because you might not feel like eating after intense activity, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. “The purpose of the post-activity meal is to refuel the body—to take back in carbohydrates and some protein for muscle repair— and to keep the immune system strong,” Applegate explains. “Muscles are very responsive [after a workout] and ready to pick up nutrients.”

If you have little appetite, Applegate suggests first downing a sports drink, which contains key minerals, like potassium and sodium, to rehydrate your body. Also, eat a piece of fruit. Try a cup of red or concord grapes, which contain flavonoids. Research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests these potent antioxidants reduce free radical damage and protect against oxidative stress. Simply put, less muscle soreness.

Within the 30-to-60-minute timeframe, you’ll also want to get some protein. Applegate recommends going lean. Try a whole wheat pita pocket with a packet of tuna. “It provides high quality protein with other nutrients, such as zinc and iron, needed for recovery from activity,” she says.

Lean deli meat, like turkey or chicken, is another good option. If you make a pit stop at a fast food joint on the way home from practice, your best bet is the least expensive burger because it’s not packed with extras, like bacon and cheese, and therefore not loaded with as many calories and fat.

Add an eight-ounce bottle of low-fat chocolate milk. It has about 26 carbs and eight grams of protein. According to a Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism study, chocolate milk can be an effective recovery beverage because of its high carb and protein content.

Nutrition Totals:*

Pre-Workout
Calories 633
Protein 17g
Fat 11g
Carbohydrates 124g
* For a slice of whole wheat bread with 1 tbsp. PB, 1 packet of honey, ½ medium banana [sliced], pear, Vanilla Crisp Powerbar and 16 oz. of melon Gatorade Fierce

Post-Workout
Calories 428
Protein 31g
Fat 4g
Carbohydrates 69g
* For a small pita pocket, a 2 oz. tuna pouch, 1C grapes, 8 oz. low-fat chocolate milk.

 

Must See
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 33,710,661
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 6,566,283
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,408,925

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,018,026
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,983
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,834
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,770
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,480
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,381
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,163
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,164

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
STACK Simple Cooking for Young Athletes: How to Cook Eggs

STACK Simple Cooking for Young Athletes: How to Cook Eggs

The Nutrition That Powers Joe Thomas's Iron-Man Streak

The Nutrition That Powers Joe Thomas's Iron-Man Streak

J.J. Watt Eats More for Breakfast than You Eat in a Week

J.J. Watt Eats More for Breakfast than You Eat in a Week

Types of Yogurt: What's New and What's Best for Athletes

Types of Yogurt: What's New and What's Best for Athletes

Why Every Athlete Should Drink Tea

Why Every Athlete Should Drink Tea

The Right Way to Gain Weight During the Off-Season

The Right Way to Gain Weight During the Off-Season

Are 'Healthy Chips' Really Healthy? 5 Popular Options Examined

Are 'Healthy Chips' Really Healthy? 5 Popular Options Examined

How 100 Pro Athletes Like Their Eggs

How 100 Pro Athletes Like Their Eggs

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Pizzeria Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Pizzeria Menu

High-Protein Snacks for Athletes With Nut Allergies

High-Protein Snacks for Athletes With Nut Allergies

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

8 Recovery Foods Recommended by Sport Dietitians

8 Recovery Foods Recommended by Sport Dietitians

4 Endomorph Diet Strategies to Accelerate Fat Loss

4 Endomorph Diet Strategies to Accelerate Fat Loss

Big Breakfast, Small Breakfast, No Breakfast: Which Is Best?

Big Breakfast, Small Breakfast, No Breakfast: Which Is Best?

How Can Zero-Calorie Diet Soda Be Bad for You?

How Can Zero-Calorie Diet Soda Be Bad for You?

Quick On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas

Quick On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas

Fuel Your Performance with Peas

Fuel Your Performance with Peas

Bone Broth Breakdown: Should You Eat This 'Super' Soup'?

Bone Broth Breakdown: Should You Eat This 'Super' Soup'?

Surprising Muscle-Building Snacks

Surprising Muscle-Building Snacks

5 Changes Fast-Food Restaurants Are Making to Become Healthier

5 Changes Fast-Food Restaurants Are Making to Become Healthier

Game-Day Nutrition for Soccer Players

Game-Day Nutrition for Soccer Players

12 Grab-and-Go High Protein Snacks

12 Grab-and-Go High Protein Snacks

How to Build a Meal Plan to Suit Your Body Type

How to Build a Meal Plan to Suit Your Body Type

Why Are People Drinking Charcoal?

Why Are People Drinking Charcoal?

Performance-Boosting Snacks with a Satisfying Crunch

Performance-Boosting Snacks with a Satisfying Crunch

Should You Drink a Protein Shake Before Bed?

Should You Drink a Protein Shake Before Bed?

Why Chicken Soup Strengthens Your Immune System

Why Chicken Soup Strengthens Your Immune System

The Soccer Tournament Nutrition Checklist

The Soccer Tournament Nutrition Checklist

How to Stay Hydrated With Food During Your Summer Runs

How to Stay Hydrated With Food During Your Summer Runs

The Healthiest Ways to Prepare Your Vegetables

The Healthiest Ways to Prepare Your Vegetables

Are Chokeberries the Next Super Food for Athletes?

Are Chokeberries the Next Super Food for Athletes?

Eat Like a Champion, Part 3: Post-Workout Nutrition

Eat Like a Champion, Part 3: Post-Workout Nutrition

Halftime Snacks for Quick Refueling

Halftime Snacks for Quick Refueling

Fuel Up for Soccer Like the U.S. Women's National Team

Fuel Up for Soccer Like the U.S. Women's National Team

Why Your Gut Might Be the Most Important Part of Your Body

Why Your Gut Might Be the Most Important Part of Your Body

How and Why to Eat Mindfully

How and Why to Eat Mindfully

Is It Okay to Eat the Same Thing Every Day?

Is It Okay to Eat the Same Thing Every Day?

Simple Nutrition Tips for Faster Workout Gains

Simple Nutrition Tips for Faster Workout Gains

YardBarker