by Bill Bejeck
This month we will cover a very important topic for all active
people: food! What follows are some sound basic guidelines to help your
cycling performance as well as to keep you healthy.
1. EAT BREAKFAST. We have heard it before and it is true;
breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Get up a few minutes
earlier or prepare something the night before you go to bed. It does
not have to be a gourmet meal; some yogurt and a banana, or cereal with
low fat milk and a glass of juice will do the trick. Sorry, but 2 cups
of coffee do not count, either.
2. PACK YOUR LUNCH. Eating can be 1) expensive, 2) very high in
fat and 3) usually the portion you are given is larger than you would
give yourself. Now I am aware that business dictates that sometimes you
meet over lunch. If it is inappropriate to "brown bag it" then try to
order something from the light fare selection that most restaurants have
these days. Again, nothing fancy here, just a turkey sandwich on wheat
bread and a piece of fruit.
3. TAKE SNACKS. Most people want to eat healthier, but after not
eating much all day, they go home and devour whatever is in sight. If
this sounds familiar, then having a snack in-between meals can be a
great help! Fresh fruit like bananas, apples and oranges are convenient
as well as very nutritious. Graham crackers and fig Newton are good
choices also. What ever you snack on, try to make it wholesome, not a
candy bar or a bag of chips, etc.
4. BALANCE YOUR MEALS. What I mean by this is don't fall into the
"carbo trap" of having nothing but a bagel and pasta diet. You need
protein and some fat. Most of your sources of protein have some fat in
them and that's OK. Good examples are skinless chicken breasts, extra
lean ground beef or tuna fish. Dairy products such as skim or 1% milk,
low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese are good sources of protein also.
Vegetarian sources of protein could consist of tofu or combining beans
and rice. Watch out for foods with a high saturated fat content the
most. A good rule of thumb is to always include a source of protein
when eating one of your main meals. Having a small snack of just
carbohydrate between meals is OK; just make sure you balance your main
5. DRINK WATER. Keep a bottle with you all the time. Your urine
should be clear to pale yellow (and odorless). Dehydration may also
contribute to feelings of hunger.
6. EAT 5 FRUITS OR VEGETABLES A DAY. Fruits and vegetables are
loaded with nutrients and fiber, both of which we need on a daily basis.
Choose from a variety in your grocery store. Try to stick with fresh
fruits and vegetables, with frozen being a second option.
7. PORTION SIZE. Remember, total calories count. So don't load up
on food just because it is low fat. If you are eating a steak or
chicken breasts, stick with a portion about the size of your fist.
Bill Bejeck is a full time personal trainer and avid cyclist
with his own company called HealthSport. Bill can be reached at Hsport
at Gateway.net with questions or comments. To receive a free
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