Do You Need Sport-Specific Food?

Almond Butter Celery

There are lots of bars, beverages and sports chews on the market—but do you really need to spend the extra money and extra calories? Seems like these specialty items will make you faster, fitter and stronger but for the average person working out for 30 minutes to 1 hour you probably don’t need any of them!

It’s important to make your calories count so eating real food is best when you are not competing or out on ultra-long workouts. Think nutrient-dense vs. calorie-dense foods unless of course you are competing and need quick bursts of energy. Nutrient-dense foods have more than just calories—they have naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, nut butters, beans, lean protein and low-fat dairy are all good for your body.

Hydrate with calorie-free water and a spritz of lemon for some flavor. Don’t waste calories on sweetened beverages that make false promises unless you have factored it into your calories for the day or you’re late to a workout and have not fueled properly. (They can sometimes give you the boost you need to get you through the routine.)

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.