Pre-Activity Snacks

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Instead of heading to practice on an empty stomach, pack and snack so you're fueled and ready for action. Here, sports nutritionist Amy Jamieson-Petonic serves up some tasty advice for pre-activity snacking.

"Athletes have higher nutritional needs, and their performance can be negatively affected if they are not adequately fueled," says Jamieson-Petonic.

In other words, improper fueling can result in decreased strength and speed as well as the tendency to fatigue quickly. To avoid feeling sluggish (and reduce the possibility of warming the bench), Jamieson-Petonic advises avoiding high fat foods before activity. Fat takes more energy to digest and is digested at a slower rate than others foods.

Instead, Jamieson-Petonic recommends fueling up pre-activity with carbohydrates. "Carbohydrates have many functions, including providing the main source of energy for muscles, which is called glycogen," she explains. "Glycogen helps maintain blood glucose levels during physical activity," meaning sustained energy for your body. For a pre-activity pick-me-up, try one of these options:

•    Animal crackers
•    Apple sauce
•    Baby carrots
•    Baked chips
•    Breakfast bar
•    Canned fruit
•    Celery sticks
•    Cereal
•    Cherry tomatoes
•    Dried fruit
•    Fresh fruit
•    Graham crackers
•    Granola bar
•    Jell-O
•    Pretzels
•    Popcorn
•    Rice cakes
•    Trail mix 
•    Whole-wheat crackers
•    Yogurt

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