Spring into Shape! 3 Smart Ways to Fuel Fitness

Maggie Moon, MS, RDWell friends, if recent weather is any indication, it seems that it’s starting to feel a lot like Spring (finally)! And if winter’s lingering melancholy weather kept you out of the parks and out of the gym (and who could blame you), then welcome to a new day!

The sunshine and kinder temperatures are perfect for jogging, rekindling a relationship with a hula hoop or jump rope or simply skipping across a field.

Along with a balanced diet, regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, strong muscles, joints, and bones and for lowering your risk of the big three chronic diseases in America: heart disease, cancer and stroke. (Plus, it just feels good!)

To be honest, the sunshine might also get some of us thinking about swimsuit season.

Remember that healthy weight loss and improved fitness take time. Both kids and adults should make time for exercise every single day. Kids and teenagers should aim for 60+ minutes and adults should aim for 30+ minutes. Start today, and by Memorial Day you will see results!

3 Smart Ways to Fuel Fitness

A good diet helps you feel great before and after physical activity.

1. Fuel your fitness routine with a smart snack about an hour before your workout. Look for a combination of a carbohydrate for quick energy and protein for longer-lasting energy.

Simple, smart combinations include non-fat yogurt topped with granola, apples and peanut butter, a veggie omelet with one slice of whole wheat toast or — in a pinch — reach for half an energy bar.

2. After a workout, replenish the body with muscle re-building protein and hydrating electrolytes. Nuts, beans, and yogurt are good ways to get protein, and electrolytes are in just about all whole foods, including fruits and vegetables.

3. Fill up on a big salad and keep calories low. Vegetables, especially greens, are naturally low in calories and high in nutrients. Broccoli and leafy greens, for example, are about 15 calories per serving.

Keep your refrigerator stocked with great quality produce that you love to eat, and mix and match your favorite fruits and vegetables to create new salads. Or, try one of our new whole grain green salads.

Bonus Tip: Do Try This At Home!

Out with the old and in with the new. If your pantry was in the winter doldrums, too, then wake it up for spring and upgrade to smarter staples for you and your family.

One easy swap to make today is to upgrade your grains to easy-to-cook whole grains like rinsed quinoa, bulgur, brown rice cous cous, popcorn and whole wheat pasta.