Whether you're a weekend warrior or a casual athlete choosing the right foods to energize your workout can help you be your best.
Kate Patton is a sports nutritionist at Cleveland Clinic. She says a basic staple in any athlete's diet is carbohydrates.
"I would recommend having some quick carbohydrate containing snack," advised Patton. "It can have a little bit of protein, too, but not too much protein. You need some carbohydrate to give you a quick burst of energy."
Patton says carbohydrates will give you the energy to fuel your workout, while protein helps to build muscle.
She says fibrous foods are a good part of any diet, but may not work so well just before a workout or game. That's because fiber makes us feel fuller, longer, which could slow you down.
Patton says if you're exercising to maintain, or lose weight, you need to watch your calorie count. That's why she recommends breaking up your plate into sections.
"So, make about a fourth of your plate some type of grain or starch, a fourth of your plate protein, and half your plate non-starchy vegetables. And having a little fruit or milk with that meal is still OK, too," she said.
For athletes who are trying to shed a few pounds, Patton recommends smaller meals, eaten more frequently throughout the day. This keeps you from overeating and allows you to burn the calories more quickly.
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