Pre- and Post-Paddle Nutrition | Paddle Healthy Presented by Sun Protection Zone

by Annie Maize

Early morning paddles are a great way to kick-start your day. They get your mind and body moving and grooving, and give you that extra pep that helps you through another day in the office. But what you eat prior to your paddle may play an even more important role in your day than the workout itself. After all, you are what you eat, right?

To make sure you’re paddling through life at 100 percent, here are some daily grinds that’ll keep you firing through the…you get the idea.

Pre Paddle

Whole Grain Toast: Toast is a simple, stomach-friendly carbohydrate and a solid source of energy. But the type of toast you choose makes all the difference in the world for nutritional value. Whole grain is by far the most nutritious among the loafs, and provides a quality source of vitamins, calcium, iron and fiber that is stripped from other types of wheat bread during the refining process. Look for the “100% Whole Grain” on the label, or it probably isn’t the real deal. Add some nutritious toppings to your toast and boost the energy supply even more.

SUP recommends: Add avocado. A single avocado contains around two grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. While it also contains an average nine grams of carbs, seven of those are fibrous, so there are only two "net" carbs, making it a low-carb plant food.

Bananas: This yellow-suited fruit is jam-packed nutritional value. Its hearty dose of potassium is best known to fight cramps, but it also helps to lower blood pressure and ward off heart attacks and strokes. Bananas are a good source of Vitamin C, manganese, and Vitamin B6, the latter of which is proven to reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system and assist the production of red blood cells. In application to paddling, bananas are particularly helpful as a source of energy, a blood-sugar supplement and a mood booster (bananas are rich in tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin—the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness—during workouts).

Oats: Oats are one of the most basic but beneficial foods you can eat, period. Oats naturally transform carbohydrates into energy and release that energy slowly and steadily over time. They’re loaded with fiber and high levels of protein. Be careful of the pre-packaged oatmeals; a lot are loaded with sugar. Try and stick with steel-cut oats or plain rolled oats; these are far and above the most nutritious types. For more evidence of the awesomeness of oats, here’s a laundry list of benefits.

 Post Paddle

"Hungry. Food. Now." A post-exercise meal is just as important as the pre-meal; it’s critical to replenish the body of all the energy it uses and to help muscles recover and grow. For your post-paddle grub-down, go for grinds with healthy amounts of carbohydrates and protein.

Eggs: Naturally rich in B Vitamins, just one egg has six grams of protein. Egg whites have no cholesterol and are a rich source of protein, while yolks are high in cholesterol and should be limited in consumption, if not omitted altogether. Stores sell egg-whites, or you can separate the yolk and the whites just after cracking it open.

Chocolate Milk: Believe it or not chocolate milk is an awesome source of recovery nutrition. It has protein for muscle repair, carbohydrates to replenish energy stores, and it’ll boost your calcium and Vitamin D intake. Almond, Soy and low-fat milk are great sources. As for the chocolate, well…Let’s just say it’s good for the soul and leave it at that.

Power Smoothie: You can be as crazy or as simple as you want with a smoothie, but you can hardly go wrong with fruits and veggies. The best part about smoothies is, you can include whatever you want. They’re easy and quick for the on-the-go eater, and can pack an entire post-workout meal into a single glass. Include some spinach, chia seeds, Greek yogurt and protein powder to meet all of your post-workout needs.

Check out more Energy Boosting foods, here.
More paddle healthy tips, here.