With summer nearly officially upon us, many of us are looking for ways we can lose weight, get fit and in shape for bikini season and shorts and tank top weather. Working out is definitely an important factor in getting in shape, but did you know that what you eat before and after a workout is just as important or more so? According to renowned registered dietitian and Chicago Cubs nutrition consultant, Dawn Jackson Blatner eating the proper breakfast before a workout and the right protein afterwards is crucial and can make or break your workout. Dawn was kind enough to join me for an interview recently to dish on how we can maximize our workout and obtain healthy eating habits so we can look and feel our best!
Candace Rose: Are there any specific foods that will enhance our workout?
Dawn Jackson Blatner: “What you eat before you workout and what you eat after you workout can make or break you. Before a workout your body wants carbohydrates, that’s our body’s fuel source. I think a fun way to do it is overnight oats where you just take the rolled oats and mix it with your favorite milk, put it in the refrigerator overnight so when you wake up in the morning it’s ready to go. You can eat it cold with a little yogurt, a little fruit, a little nuts and seeds and that fiber in oats makes it like a time released source of energy through a workout.
You can also do something like two tablespoons of raisins before a workout. Research shows it’s just as good as having some of those sports gels that you can buy. Raisins are natural, I love that.
Pomegranate juice before a workout for those polyphenol compounds in there may actually reduce the muscle soreness. I like green tea, a little bit of caffeine gives you that motivation and energy to start your workout. That’s all the stuff to think about before a workout!”
Candace Rose: That’s actually my favorite breakfast! I like to add raisins, pineapple, raw honey! Just anything I can think of.
Dawn Jackson Blatner: “You’re doing all the stuff right beforehand. Now after, your body is craving protein because you just worked all of your muscles, so it needs repair. It also needs carbohydrates for your energy too. One of my go-to proteins after a workout is tuna. StarKist has single serve packets that you can just throw in a gym bag and the tuna creation flavors like ranch, sweet and spicy, really hit the spot. 110 calories or less, 12-16 grams of protein and also a natural source of Omega-3 fats. Now, Omega-3 fats may actually decrease how sore our muscles get and may decrease how much body fat our body stores. Having those in your gym bag, a little whole grain crackers and eat that, toss it with salad- easy after a workout stuff.”
Candace Rose: Should you wait a certain amount of time after eating and before you workout?
Dawn Jackson Blatner: “Before you workout -about 15 to 20 minutes beforehand is when you’re thinking about those carbohydrate foods. The tuna and the things after the workout, it would be great if you could get it in within about 30 minutes, that’s like a really special window where your muscles are really asking for that protein and that carbohydrate for repair and recovery.
If you’re running around, you get those little tuna packages, you could get a latte. That milk in a latte has protein and carbohydrate together. You could do a tea latte or a coffee latte.
With green smoothies there’s research that those leafy greens like spinach and kale that you enjoy may make your muscles more efficient in a workout. I do a real simple smoothie recipe where it’s just one cup of greens like spinach or kale, one cup of milk, and a half a cup of your favorite fruits like blueberries. You just zip it up and you can drink it. Or if you want to be a little special you can take that green smoothie and pour it into popsicle molds! You’re so hot after a workout and you just need something refreshing after a workout, so you can do a green smoothie popsicle.”
Candace Rose: I didn’t know green smoothies are good for your muscles. I just know that they’ve helped me to not get migraines anymore. After I started juicing kale (and other fruits and vegetables) – no more migraines.
Dawn Jackson Blatner: “That goes to show that food really can be magical, right? And if you choose the right stuff beforehand and you choose the right stuff after, you really can feel the difference. One of the things that I also think to get your mind in the game is so important to keep inspired is to look for things that motivate and inspire you with healthy recipes -going to Starkist.com and checking them out on Facebook, that is some stuff that keeps you wanting to eat healthy and get going all summer long, and even beyond.”
Candace Rose: Definitely! Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Dawn Jackson Blatner: “It’s so important to remember that what you eat is as important as exercising. So going to Starkist.com and checking them out on Facebook to keep your recipes healthy is so important.”