Your body, like a car, will function properly when well maintained. The sad news is you can't buy a new body if it breaks down. In order to keep your body in the best shape and running well, you need to eat nutritious foods that will keep you going and protect your immune system; which is especially important for student-athletes who lead busy lives. Here is a list of eight easy -to- prepare snacks you can whip up before a game or practice, that are filled with nutrients that will aid in performing at your peak.
1. Hummus and Carrots
Carrots reduce cholesterol, prevent heart attacks, help fight off certain cancers, improve vision, and reduce the signs of premature aging. They can also increase the health of your skin, boost your immune system, improve digestion, increase cardiovascular health, detoxify your body, and boost oral health in a variety of ways.
Hummus is high in fiber,and the chickpeas in hummus are very high antioxidants which can help protect your body against toxins that make you sick. Not only is hummus nutritious it is also high in protein which will keep you full for those long practices.
2. Banana and Peanut Butter
Bananas contain fiber, give you energy, help with muscle cramping as well as containing super antioxidants. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) also contains (source):
Potassium: 9% of the RDI.
Vitamin B6: 33% of the RDI.
Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI.
Magnesium: 8% of the RDI.
Copper: 10% of the RDI.
Manganese: 14% of the RDI.
Net carbs: 24 grams.
Fiber: 3.1 grams.
Protein: 1.3 grams.
Fat: 0.4 grams.
Peanut butter has protein as well as potassium , which lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. It also contains fiber for your bowel health, healthy fats, magnesium to fortify your bones and muscles, Vitamin E and antioxidants.
3. Greek Yogurt and Honey
Greek yogurt contains a fair amount of protein to keep you full without the heaviness of eating meat. Greek Yogurt contains a large amount of probiotics that are responsible for keeping your digestive system regular and protecting your immune system, greek yogurt is also packed with B12 vitamins which aids in keeping your cells and nerves healthy and keeps you from getting tired and weak after a long practice.
Honey is only healthy and beneficial for you if you purchase raw, unfiltered honey from a trusted source because if honey is stripped of its pollen it will no longer contain any nutritional benefits and just be replaced with sugar and syrups.(source)
4. Fresh Avocado
Monounsaturated fats - These are good fats. Monounsaturated fats help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, they also provide a lot of nutrients. These fats are known for reverse insulin resistance and regulating blood sugar levels, avocados and avocado oil are some of the richest sources of monounsaturated fats in the world. (source)
Water- soluble vitamins B and C - Most don't know this but our bodies do not store B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. This means that you need to replenish them every day. Avocados are one of the better vitamin C foods and sources of B vitamins. So load up! (source)
Potassium- When we hear the word potassium most of us think bananas but one interesting fact many people are unaware of is that you would need to eat two bananas to meet the potassium content in just one whole avocado! (source)
Loads of fiber- Avocados contain more soluble fiber than most foods and help stabilize blood sugar levels, facilitate proper bowel regularity and maintain proper weight control. (source)
Protein- Avocados are on the list of top protein foods. Having the highest protein and lowest sugar content of any fruit, avocados offer a unique balance to building lean muscle mass and burning fat. (source)
Phytonutrients (polyphenols and flavonoids)- Anti-inflammatory compounds like phytonutrients are key to reducing the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders that can affect every part of the body , including joints, the heart, brain, internal organ systems, skin and connective tissue. Flavonoids are also great for that post workout recovery. (source)
5. Steamed Broccoli with olive oil and lemon
Antioxidant: Broccoli is known for being a high antioxidant food that fights cancer and prevents apoptosis (when cells die off).
Maintains Strong Bones: Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are essential for healthy bones, nails and teeth. High levels of vitamin K and iron are vital for maintaining bone mineral density. (source)
Quick and Easy to Cook: Broccoli can be ingested raw or cooked. Most grocery stores sell microwavable broccoli which is not ideal because the microwave will zap a lot of the nutrients away but it is still healthier than most snacks.
*Eating broccoli with olive oil and lemon is a healthier alternative to dressings because they contain healthy fats, and vitamins without all of the sugar most dressings come with.
6. Fruit Smoothie with Protein
Think of smoothies like a healthier version of a milkshake. Feel free to be creative when making your smoothie- regardless of the fruits, proteins or added toppings you are adding, all that matters is that you are using healthy ingredients with no added sugars are preservatives.
Smoothies are also great for softball players who are always on the run because they are quick and easy to make and are loaded with lots of nutrients that you are getting all at once.
7. Tuna on a bed of spinach
Tuna is loaded with iron which is essential for our thyroids to function properly and makes our skin glow . Not to mention, that they are also a protein filled snack this is ready to eat out of the can or package.
Spinach is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world because of its high antioxidant properties and nutrient density. Loaded with Vitamin K to keep your bones strong and Vitamin A to regulate cell growth, these are just a few of the heath benefits spinach has. No one ever got fat by eating too many spinach leaves. (source)
8. Fruit Salad
There are so many variations of fruit salads that can't go wrong. Fruit salads are great to pack for those long tournaments because they will keep you full and cooled off.