If you are a competitive gymnast, you know the challenges of feeling strong and energized while maintaining a high level of fitness. In addition, since gymnastics is a weight-managed sport, it's also tough to find snacks that not only make you FEEL good, but also make you LOOK healthy, lean, and fit.
Betsy's mission is to help gymnasts find foods that help performance, but don't add extra bulk or weight. Each week, she'll bring you a tip, recipe or fitness advice here in the Gymnastics Kitchen.
This week, Betsy is providing some pre- and post-workout snacks. Gymnasts need to fuel up before and after practice, but should NOT incorporate high amounts of fat, sugar and heavy fried foods.
Healthy Snack Guidelines:
1. Must include complex carbohydrates to refuel muscle glycogen. Complex carbs keep your blood sugar stable so you don’t “crash” halfway through your workout.
2. A solid amount of protein to prepare for, and repair, muscle breakdown.
3. A moderate amount of natural sugar in the way of fruit and a very small amount of healthy fat to stave off hunger during or after workout.
4. Hydration in the form of water.
Half a Banana Boat: Slice a banana down the middle, then cut it in half. Spread 1.5 tablespoons of natural almond or peanut butter onto the banana, then top with two tablespoons of raisins and a drizzle of honey.
Rice Cake Hummus Delight: On a whole-grain rice cake, spread two tablespoons of hummus, then top with four sliced cucumbers and a slice of tomato.
Fruit Kabobs and Nuts: *Slide green grapes, blueberries, strawberry slices and raspberries on toothpicks and eat them like kabobs. Enjoy with a side of 1/4-cup almonds or pistachios. Add string cheese for more protein.
*Fun to enjoy as frozen treats!
Quick Lettuce Wrap: On a lettuce leaf, dole out three ounces of low-sodium tuna, two tablespoons of salsa, 1/2 cup of brown rice and a slice of avocado.
Greek Yogurt and Oats: One cup of plain Greek yogurt, blended with 2/3 cup of dry oats and one tablespoon of natural honey.
Edemame Protein Power: One cup of edamame beans dried or fresh. Pair with a whole-grain rice cake with one tablespoon of light cream cheese and a few strawberry slices on top.
Betsy McNally-Laouar is a personal fitness and gymnastics trainer certified in sports nutrition. She currently works with elite and upper-level gymnasts at Cincinnati Gymnastics, where she creates training and meal plans. She also works with gymnasts all around the country online and through camps. If you need help with gymnastics recipes, meal plans and/or fitness, check out her website, www.betsymcnally.com and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.