WHAT TO EAT for sports: 4 SNACKS THAT ARE EASY TO PREPARE AND TAKE WITH YOU

Know how to choose the right diet that's easy to find, prepare and take with you for your session. Follow this guide!

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Can I eat while practicing my sport? How to target food that will combat fatigue and snacks that will help during sports practice? What food should you eat to regain your strength?

All these are questions that sportsmen and women, who care about their diet, ask themselves, whatever their level of ability.

Here are some answers provided by Géraldine, a dietician and Anne, a dietician behaviorist.

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EATING DURING SPORTs: IS IT A GOOD OR BAD IDEA?

While the question of what you should eat before and after sport comes up frequently, it's also worth spending some time looking at the snacks you take during sports.

But, first of all, is it advisable to eat during training? “If you feel the need, yes," replies  Géraldine Mourier, a qualified dietician. “The most important thing is to stay hydrated but - depending on the effort made - naturally, you can eat".

Anne, a dietician behaviourist, clarifies, “it's not just about the theory, your behaviour plays an important role. If you don't feel hungry, there's no need to eat. Quite the reverse, it could be counter-productive”.

In fact, this will depend on the period and intensity of your physical effort.

“If you run for one hour, conventional hydration is enough and you don't need to eat," clarifies the dietician. As soon as you start pushing yourself harder for a longer period, it may be necessary to eat something.

“Above all, you need to listen to what your body is telling you,” states Géraldine.

However, there's nothing stopping you from preparing a light snack to be eaten before your sports session to give you a boost.

But how do you target the right types of food that are easy to prepare and carry with you to your training? Our nutrition experts draw up the list for you and help you boost your immune system below!

1. OLEAGINOUS FOOD (aka nuts): YOUR ANTI-FATIGUE SOLUTION

In general, it is advisable to allow some time to digest between eating and starting a sports session.

After a meal, wait 2 - 3 hours so that your digestive system can process the nutrients.

In the case of a light snack, the digestion time before sports can be considerably reduced. “You can take your snack as you leave work to give you a boost before starting your training session,” adds Géraldine.

But in this case, what snack can you easily take to your sporting location?

We'd highly recommend oleaginous seeds like almonds, nuts (pecan, cashew, etc.), hazelnuts, etc.

“These are superfoods, high in vitamins and minerals. They have lots of nutritional value”, explains the dietician.

Almonds are the ultimate oleaginous fruit. They have an immediately satisfying effect. “It's better to eat them with the skin,” advises Géraldine, "to get the most of the fibrous effect of the fruit."

An excellent source of proteins, almonds are also rich in magnesium, which has benefits for blood sugar levels as well as combating fatigue.

Like the other oleaginous types of food, almonds also boosts performance.

Therefore, superfoods like these are useful in preparing for sports as they reduce fatigue and won't impact your sporting performance.

However, the dietician clarifies that although nuts are high in "good fat", they are not advisable to be consumed in large portions.

“A reasonable level of consumption would be 30g a day - about 20 almonds spread throughout the day," she says.

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2. DRIED FRUIT: high in energy and BOOSTS YOUR MUSCLE TONE!

Another snack that is easy to carry around and has benefits for your body: dried fruit.

Dried fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals! Some examples include apricots, figs, dates, bananas, cranberry, etc.

Once dried, these fruits lose between 20% - 80% of their water content. At the same time, the concentration of energy and nutrients are multiplied by 4! As such, dried fruit are great energy boosters.

Easy to carry during your sports session, dried fruits also have the advantage of having a longer shelf life.

“You can eat them throughout the day, or before, during and after sport because they are dehydrated, fibrous and easily digestible," adds Géraldine.

However, she once again recommends rationing the consumption of these sugar-rich foods. “We recommend a portion of no more than 30g per day. This is equivalent to 8 dried apricots or 2 - 3 tablespoons of raisins, for example”.

Thus, dried fruit and oleaginous food provide a really good solution to eating healthily before, during and after sport.

In addition, combining them can be equally effective. Mixing dehydrated dried fruit that is highly concentrated in sugar, with an oleaginous food like nuts, will help to regulate the sugar provided by the dried fruit.

Here's a recipe idea proposed by Géraldine to make energy balls:

- Mix 100g of unsalted cashew nuts (or almonds) and 100g of dates with a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 6 tablespoons of water

- Put all these in a blender, shape the balls with your hands and put them in the fridge for a while

The end result? You'll get energy balls that you can easily take with you to practice!

3. fresh fruit: also high in energy and other vitamins

Most fresh fruits have a beneficial effect on the body, but some are probably better suited to sports.

Some examples of fruits that we'd recommend to take with you during sports:

- Bananas (fibre-rich and easy to digest)
- Apples (satiates hunger)
- Oranges (high in vitamin C)
- Kiwis (high in vitamin C, boosts energy and well-being)
- Blueberries (excellent antioxidants)

Keep in mind that fruits are still high in sugar, so one should avoid eating excessive amounts. 

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4. CHOCOLATE: THE INDULGENT SNACK THAT ALSO DELIVERS ENERGY!

As the ultimate source of sugar (and pleasure), chocolate can also form part of the sports user's diet - provided that it is properly chosen and not consumed to excess

“You can eat one or two squares per day. Preferably dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa, which contains less sugar than the other types of chocolate,” points out Géraldine.

“I would recommend taking chocolate during a physical effort rather than before. Particularly for a long session lasting more than 1.5 hours. And only if you feel that a small boost of energy is necessary,” suggests Anne.

 a shopping list of high-energy foods for sportsmen/women

For your benefit, our two dieticians have drawn up a shopping list of superfoods that are easy to find and cook, giving you a healthy diet!

Here's the shopping list of high-energy food for sportsmen and women:

1. PROTEIN

- Eggs (excellent source of protein)
- Fish (preferably herring, anchovies, sardines or mackerel)
- Milk
- Lean meat (turkey or chicken)
- Seafood (shellfish, muscles and oysters)

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2. STARCHY FOODS AND LEGUMINOUS PLANTS

- Quinoa (rich in protein and easy to prepare)
- Buckwheat
- Millet (practical and quick to cook)
- Rice (preferably wholemeal)
- Wholemeal or semi-wholemeal pasta
- Multigrain bread (wholemeal or semi-wholemeal)
- Green lentils and red lentils
- Rolled oats
- Split peas
- Kidney beans
- Soy (in any form)

3. FRESH FRUIT (CHOOSE ACCORDING TO THE SEASON)

- Banana (easily digestible)
- Orange (full of vitamin C)
- Kiwi
- Lemon
- Mandarin
- Grapefruit
- Mango
- Grapes
- Apple
- Melon
- Strawberries