Breakfast for dinner? Liz Applegate says it's a winner, especially when you're eating on the road. The UC Davis sports nutrition director and Oakland Raiders consultant recommends dishing up a post-activity meal of eggs and pancakes. Read on to learn why these breakfast basics are no-fail options.
Neglecting to eat immediately after a game is a problem Applegate sees with athletes. "They don't give it the attention that it deserves," she says. Post-activity fueling is important, because "your muscles are more receptive to nutrients."
You'll need to rebuild the protein that was lost during activity, Applegate says. In addition, she says you should replenish with carbs to rebuild your energy stores—and with carbs, quality counts.
Fortunately, most restaurants you'll find on the road can fill these needs. She recommends "a real basic restaurant that's going to serve breakfast all day…breakfast items for a post-game meal [are] a sure bet." That is, she says, as long as you avoid highfat eats, such as sausage—just four links at Denny's serves up 34 grams of fat, while the joint's biscuits and sausage gravy dish packs a jaw-dropping 32 grams of fat.
Instead, aim for Applegate's meal of choice: eggs, pancakes and a side of fruit. From just a couple of eggs, you can expect about 12 grams of protein. Of all the nutrients you should be consuming, Applegate says carbs take the cake, and in this case, she suggests pancakes as go-to carbs at a breakfast diner.
To that, add a side of fruit. Aside from vitamins and minerals, fruit is loaded with fiber. "I can't emphasize enough the importance of fiber for overall health, but also for a properly functioning intestinal tract," Applegate says. At Denny's, À la carte fruit options provide 4 grams of fiber, while Bob Evans' fruit and yogurt plate offers 9 grams.
Follow up with fluids. Applegate notes that even if you consume fluids during a game, you still won't be able to keep up with the fluid lost through sweat during activity. She says downing a sports drink on the way to a restaurant is a good way to start replenishing fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates; and once you take a seat to eat, she suggests ordering a glass of milk or orange juice with your meal.
The most opportune time to start fueling is within 30 minutes after your game or event. And while the timing is crucial, so is what you feast on. "Gone are the days where you can just eat a candy bar or pop a hot dog in your mouth and call it a day," Applegate says. "You've got to use the same eating rules on the road that you use at home…When you go on the road, there's nothing worse than not feeling like yourself.
Try to be consistent, and stay with your routine."
*For three Denny's pancakes, two eggs, 3 oz. grapes and 10 oz. orange juice
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