Winter athletes should pay careful attention to their sports diet, otherwise the lack of food and fluids can take the fun out of your sport activities.

Failing to drink enough fluids is a big mistake, to consciously consume fluids will replace the water vapour that gets exhaled by breathing.  While you breath in cold dry air, your body warms and humidifies the air, as you exhale you lose significant amounts of water. 

It is important to eat a little different during exercise in the winter to sustain energy. During winter we need a combination of protein, fat and carbohydrate in every meal, the fat should be slightly higher and meals should be eaten 2-3 hours before doing sports.

Eating a little more will slow down the rate food leaves the stomach and will sustain your energy longer in the cold, as food warms up your core temperature and your muscles will work better.

Before exercising you could enjoy oatmeal & walnuts with cinnamon. Oatmeal is complex carbohydrate and rich in soluble fibre, which takes longer to digest and will give you more energy. Walnuts have more protein and is healthy unsaturated fat and spicy cinnamon contains immune-boosting antioxidants that help fend off winter viruses.

You can also enjoy citrus fruit salad with yogurt and honey.  Oranges and grapefruits contain vitamin C that helps to boost the immune system.  They contain natural fibre and combined with the protein in the yogurt it will sustain energy levels.  Honey is a wonderful natural sweetener with antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Chocolate protein shake is one of the best winter foods, it is delicious and loaded with antioxidants. It is so easy to make yourself,  pop-in 5ml honey, 5ml cocoa powder,1 banana, 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder, 5ml peanut butter, 250ml of non-fat soy-milk and 4 ice cubes in you blender, blend well and enjoy.

It is good to enjoy a snack containing carbohydrate and protein within the first 30 minutes post-exercise to help you muscles recover.

Homemade hot chocolate after exercise will immediately hydrate and refuel, the milk will give you a pop of protein and carbohydrate and the cocoa antioxidants.

A healthy turkey sandwich is excellent learn source of protein.  Make it with whole-grain bread for soluble fibre, add skimmed mozzarella for additional protein and healthy fat.

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