The primary purpose of the food we eat is to provide us with a variety of nutrients. There are six major classes of essential nutrients found in food: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. These nutrients perform three basic functions: to provide energy for metabolism, promote growth and development, and help regulate body processes.
Carbohydrates and fats are the main sources of energy (the stuff that will make or break your surf session). Complex carbohydrates are a better choice than simple carbohydrates. Most dietary fat should come from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. Protein is important for building muscles and other soft tissues (the stuff that will help make your paddle out easier).
Here are some tips for healthy eating:
- Look for protein without too much saturated fat.
- Look for whole-grain, complex carbohydrates.
- Look for low-fat dairy products or soy options.
- Look for high fiber and nutrient dense foods.
WHAT TO EAT BEFORE YOU SURF
Breakfast is fuel for your body, so start your day with a high-energy meal such as:
- Oatmeal. This is the perfect breakfast (and will help you last longer in the water). Steel-cut oatmeal is the best choice. Try adding ground flaxseed, fresh blueberries, and a small handful of almonds for fiber nutrients, protein, and good fats, or add a little cinnamon with a handful of raisins.
- Whole grain bread, bagel or whole wheat English muffin with almond butter.
- High-fiber cereal – Kashi GoLean Crunch is a particular favorite. It has a healthy amount of protein and fiber, and low sugar content. Add low-fat or lite soy milk, along with some fresh berries or banana slices.
- Fresh berries, yogurt, and granola. Low-fat yogurt or soy yogurt and cut-up berries or other fruits on top of a healthy cereal.
- Protein shake. Soy or whey protein powder blended with low-fat or lite soy milk, berries, almond or peanut butter, oatmeal, or ground flaxseed.
- Eggs with peppers. Egg whites have no cholesterol and are an excellent source of protein. (Egg yolks are high in cholesterol, so limit the number you consume.) Scramble egg whites with a little olive oil, red and green bell peppers, and maybe some broccoli, onions, and black pepper. This goes well with whole-grain toast.
- Eggs, rice and black beans. A Costa Rican delicacy!
- Scrambled tofu. This is a great choice for vegetarians. Add onions, green peppers and other veggies, lite soy or tamari sauce, a touch of garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir-fry with a little olive oil.Snacks for SurfersIf you don’t have time for a meal, grab a quick, healthy and high-energy snack such as:
- Fresh fruit (pineapple, red grapes, strawberries, cherries, mango, apple, banana, kiwi, orange, cantaloupe)
- Real fruit smoothie
- Trail mix (dried fruit and assorted nuts)
- Whole-wheat English muffin spread with protein-rich almond or peanut butter
- Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread
- Energy bar (Clif, Odawalla, Kashi, LUNA, Bumble, Pro, Optimum Energy)
- Nuts: Almonds are a nutritional powerhouse: high in fiber, protein, vitamin E, calcium, riboflavin, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and healthy monounsaturated fat. Also try walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, and unsalted peanuts.
- Raw vegetables: carrots, broccoli, snow peas and celery. These go great with hummus, which is made from pureed chickpeas and sesame seeds, and is also high in protein, vitamins B6 and C, and potassium.
- Avocado sprinkled with lemon or lime juice.
- Dried fruit is a great source of antioxidants, iron, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Raisins, blueberries, apples, mangoes, and Craisins are good, to name a few.
WHAT TO EAT AFTER YOU SURF
Enjoy a satisfying meal that replenishes nutrients and energy after a day of strenuous activity. Combine a high-protein food with a serving of starch and vegetables.
- Grilled chicken
- Fresh fish (Coho salmon, tuna, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids)
- Black beans and brown rice
- Sweet potato
- Fresh steamed vegetables (broccoli, spinach, carrots, beets, asparagus)
- Salad with grilled chicken, steak, fish, or shrimp
- Baked potato
WHY NOT FAST FOOD?
For some reason, fast food (Taco Bell, Subway, McDonalds, Carl’s Jr.) has become synonymous with post-surfing chow, but this is not the recommendation of the ripped/bronzed staff of KiteSurfing Planet site! I think you should be aware that fast food is packed full of sodium, high in saturated fats, and lacks many essential nutrients. In addition, many fast food restaurants use frozen meats or artificial fillers to make the item look bigger. The grease in fast foods can have many negative effects on your body’s performance. You could feel sluggish, nauseated, tired, dehydrated…a real bummer after a day of surfing, adrenaline and pure fun.
Limit your consumption of fast foods. Although fast-food chains generally serve grade A foods, many of their products are high in fat. The average fast food sandwich contains approximately 50% of its calories in fat.