carbs, carb-loading, nutrition, carb health, post-workout meals, meal prep

Time Your Carbs Right

Here's how to keep your blood sugar levels even and prevent fatigue.

All carbs are not created equal; the complex, whole grain types prove to be an athlete’s friend, providing slow-released energy on which the body thrives.

But timing their consumption is key. Your insulin sensitivity is higher in the morning and after a workout, says Scarborough, Maine-based Precision Nutrition coach Brian St. Pierre, RD, CSCS. That means eating carbs around breakfast or close to a workout can keep blood sugar even-keeled throughout the day, avoiding the dips and surges that can lead to fatigue. Here, how to make it work.

For breakfast

Eat carbs now, and your body will have the entire day to burn them for energy. Good, sustaining picks contain fiber and protein such as oatmeal and fruit with almond butter. When you have more time, try making these fiber-rich spiced buckwheat pancakes.

Post-workout

Following up a training session with carbs replenishes glycogen stores for better recovery. Try a smoothie with fruit and protein powder for a hit of natural sugar and protein to rebuild muscle. Greek yogurt, berries, and honey also provide these two essential post-exercise nutrients.

In the afternoon, a whole wheat turkey sandwich can be just what you need to refuel right, says St. Pierre.