Nutrition Questions Answered by an RD
Working toward your fitness goals can be challenging. But you’re not in this alone. The Openfit Teammates Facebook group connects you with other Openfit members, trainers, and nutrition experts to give you a supportive community.
One of those experts is Openfit Nutrition Manager Krista Maguire, RD, CSSD. When Openfit Teammates have nutrition questions, Maguire has the answers. Here’s some information from a recent community Q&A.
1. The Most Important Meal of the Day
Openfit Teammate: Is it more important to plan most of your calorie intake in the morning (or first part of your day), or spread the calories out throughout the day?
Maguire: There’s a saying that says, “Breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; dinner like a pauper.” It’s just a saying. However there’s some research to back it up.
A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed that people who eat a big breakfast burn twice as many calories than those who eat a larger dinner. They also experienced fewer cravings for sweets and had healthier blood sugar and insulin levels throughout the day.
Everyone is different with different schedules and daily activities, but if you think about food as fuel for your day, it may make more sense to eat a bit more at the beginning of your day.
It’s also important to space your protein throughout the day (also backed by research) with about 20-30g per meal. This helps support muscle protein synthesis and can also help keep you feeling full throughout the day.
2. Protein Options for Vegans
Openfit Teammate: I am vegan. What are good protein options? Post-workout, is it healthier to drink protein shakes vs. regular meals?
Maguire: Good vegan protein options are organic tempeh and tofu, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, quinoa, etc. Here are some more ideas.
Post-workout you can choose a protein shake or a whole food protein source. They are both great options. It’s usually just what is most convenient and works with your schedule and what you have available to you at the time.
3. Counting Carbs
Openfit Teammate: I try to focus on my macros. Do you count the full carbs or just the net carbs?
Maguire: We count full carbs when determining macro ratios. The only time I see “net carbs” used is for keto or diabetic diets. There may be others, but we use full carbs and always try to choose foods high in fiber for our purposes.
4. Sparkling Water
Openfit Teammate: Can sparkling mineral water count as part of my daily water intake? Is it the same as drinking regular water?
Maguire: Good news! It does count. However (yes, there’s always a caveat), research has found that people don’t drink as much sparkling water as they do pure water, therefore don’t get in enough during the day. So rely mainly on pure water. Jazz it up with some cucumber, watermelon, lemon, mint, and then top off your daily quota with sparkling!
5. Pre-Workout Snacks
Openfit Teammate: What should I do as a healthy pre-workout snack?
Maguire: A pre-workout snack will depend on how much time you have before your workout. If it’s 30 min to an hour before your workout, then I’d recommend an easy to digest carb:
- a banana
- an apple
- some Greek yogurt with fruit
- trail mix
- a slice of toast with some nut butter (and sliced banana if you wish)
6. Post-Workout Protein
Openfit Teammate: I was told post-workout to drink a protein shake. Is that correct?
Maguire: Post-workout it’s best to get in some protein as well as some carbs to replenish lost glycogen. A protein shake can help with the protein part of it, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a shake. Any protein will do (lean chicken/turkey, Greek yogurt, an egg, etc.). People often do shakes just for the sake of convenience. Here are some post-workout snack ideas.
7. The Importance of Variety
Openfit Teammate: I really don’t love cooking. I eat to fuel my body, meaning I don’t make it a huge production. Is it OK to eat the same balanced meal every single day, or is variety important?
Maguire: While getting a variety of nutrients is important, that doesn’t mean you can’t repeat meals during the week. I eat pretty much the same breakfast Monday – Friday (so I don’t have to think about it!) and then choose 2-3 lunches and 2-3 dinners so that I can cook once and eat multiple times. The most important thing is that you eat balanced meals. If those are the same balanced meals throughout the week (or even two weeks for that matter) that’s ok. I would suggest switching it up now and then, but having a balanced go-to option is just fine.