Whether we're talking about last minute hoop shots or marriage proposals, we all know that time is everything. That is also true when it comes to what you eat. Depending on the time of day or the situation you are in, your body needs certain nutritional properties to help you get through the day, so you can work and live at your optimum level.
Foods create all kinds of hormonal reactions in your body, either reactions that affect your mood, your alertness, your energy level, and everything else. So, while you may know what you want to eat, it is also important to know when to do it. Follow our guide to the best foods to eat no matter what situation you find yourself in.
What to eat... after a hard training session
When you put your muscles to the test, they are like students studying for the final exams: they are stressed and tired. To respond to the next challenge, they will develop; this is how you become stronger. But to get the most out of those development cycles, muscles need proper nutrition.
Follow this formula for snacks after training: the carbohydrate to protein ratio should be 2: 1 for low to moderate intensity training or 3: 1 for high intensity and long duration training sessions, says Andrea Hacker Thompson, MS and RD of the ACSM Fit Society Page. Carbohydrates will replenish glycogen stores (ie, the stored glucose that provides the energy) and the protein will rebuild the muscles.
Eat between 30 minutes and an hour after finishing your workout, because that is the best time for your body to absorb nutrients after an exercise session. Try a glass of chocolate milk or all-natural peanut butter on a slice of 100% whole wheat bread.
What to eat... after a long meeting
If you feel dizzy after sitting in a presentation of 200 PowerPoint slides, chew some almonds. They provide healthy fats and a little protein, says Lauren O'Connor, RD of Nutri-Savvy. The research published in the journal Neuron shows that proteins, and not sugar, activate the cells that keep us awake and burning calories.
While whole-grain carbohydrates provide the glucose that keeps the brain active, protein is what ensures that you do not forget what the meeting was about in the first place. That's especially true to the extent that the protein is rich in the amino acid tyrosine, a neurotransmitter that is essential for brain energy and alertness (an ounce of almonds contains 127 mg of tyrosine).
What to eat... at the finish line
After any resistance event, replacing the loss of sweat should be your number one priority. That's because you need to replenish glycogen stores. The best foods and beverages for after a marathon contain mostly carbohydrates, some vitamins and small amounts of protein to help replenish those consumed deposits, says Shari Portnoy, RD and CTP, a registered fitness dietitian and fitness trainer. Even after a short race like a 5km race, you must replace the sold out (only in small quantities).
As liquid is more easily digested than solids and carbohydrates are easier to digest than proteins, runners should choose regular or chocolate milk, says Ximena Jimenez, RD and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Chocolate milk has the desired 3: 1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein, and helps replace other nutrients. "Actually, it is a great source of electrolytes, especially potassium," says Jimenez. For example, 8 ounces of Gatorade have 30 mg of potassium, compared to 400 mg in skim milk and 425 in chocolate milk, and that's important because you can lose potassium in endurance tests.
What to eat... after a hectic night
Did you spend the night tossing and turning in bed? The feeling of daze you will have the next morning is not your only problem. Researchers at UCLA discovered that little sleep causes an increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin during the day, which can lead to an increase in appetite and overeating.
To combat this, start the day with lean proteins. Try an ounce of nuts or three ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) of lean meat, which will make you feel satisfied longer. You can also try Greek yogurt mixed with a banana, sprinkling it with a little chia seeds.
What to eat... after a night out
When your happy hour gets out of hand, consider Jimenez's morning solution: "The next day, take a Bloody Mary without vodka, it's an easy way to cure hangovers Tomato juice will replenish your body of water and electrolyte losses caused by alcohol drunkenness. "
To avoid the feeling of "ugh" before it hits, try prickly pear, says Erin Palinski, RD and author of the book Belly Diet Fat for Dummies. Researchers at Tulane University found that people who took prickly pear capsules five hours before they started drinking experienced 50 percent less hangover symptoms.