Powerful Nutrition with RICE

Today we have a guest blog post from Elizabeth (Beth) Mansfield, MSc, RD. Beth is a Registered Dietitian, CSEP-Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist and sport nutrition specialist. Through her company Peak Performance (www.peakperformance.ca) she specializes in bridging the gap between the sciences of nutrition and exercise and the practices of healthy eating and active living.

Beth integrates sport nutrition into training programs for athletes competing at the international, national, provincial, regional levels. She is currently working on her PhD at McGill University to answer the question: Does exercise  attenuate age related weight gain in vigorously active women?

RICE not only is an acronym for recovery (rest, ice, compression, elevation) it is also a powerful food that is especially helpful for minimizing gut distress in those sensitive intestines of endurance athletes.

Rice packs in more carbohydrate than potatoes and pasta for the same serving size – so if you’re looking for that extra carbohydrate blast for your muscles, power up your plate with more rice-based dishes for your main meals. For those of you that are dealing with sensitivity to gluten-containing wheat based foods such as pasta, breads, and most cereals – opt for more rice-based dishes – and that counts for desserts too! Rice is a wheat-gluten free alternative that will help to improve the functioning and well-being of your gut. Choose brown rice over white and get three times more fibre AND all the “whole” grain’s nutrients.

Be sure to include foods that add protein. The following foods pack a protein punch when they accompany your rice-rich foods:

  • Nut butters (Peanut, almond, cashew, sesame)
  • Eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese
  • Hummus dip, more bean than meat chili
  • Lean cuts of meat, poultry or fish

How much you will need to eat and drink before and after your training sessions will depend upon your age, weight, height, gender, the intensity of your training session and the time you spend exercising. Larger meals should be consumed 3-4 hours before training to ensure that the food that you eat is digested and you are ready to perform. Sometimes you may not have a lot of time to eat a meal so eat a large snack 1-2 hours before your run to get the energy that you need. For training sessions lasting more then 60 minutes, a small snack 15-30 minutes beforehand is a good idea to ensure that you are topped up and ready to go! Use the examples below to help you plan your own pre-workout nutrition program.

Large Meal Examples – Pre Workout
With water, milk, vegetable and/or fruit juice
Small meal/large snack– Pre Workout
With water, milk, vegetable and/or fruit juice
Small Snack – Pre-Workout
With water, milk, vegetable and/or fruit juice
Huevos Riceros Black bean soup with rice Rice powerbar with fruit juice
Rice crepes with fresh fruit and yogurt Sushi Bowl Piece of fresh fruit
Ham and Rice Benedict Greek Garden Rice Salad Bountiful brown rice and raspberry muffin
Rice and Edamame Salad – the perfect lunchbox meal! Turkey Rice Burgers with a garden salad Chocolate milk or fruit smoothies

All athletes need to ensure they are drinking enough fluids during their exercise. Water is the number one choice but if you are looking for some extra energy add some fruit juice to your water. Sport drinks have just enough energy to keep you going during your training and they have added electrolytes (e.g. sodium and potassium) to ensure that you replace sweat losses adequately. Adding sport drink crystals to your water bottle helps turn on your thirst – this helps you to stay better hydrated.

Typical guidelines to re-fuel your body AFTER activity:

It is important to remember that your body needs to be refueled after activity to help your muscles recover and repair. Eat a snack or small meal rich in carbohydrates within an hour or two of finishing your workouts. This is a great time to use some sweeter foods to get the carbohydrates in that you need….then make sure to follow up with a meal within the next 3-4 hours. Here are some ideas to get you refuelled.

Post Workout Snacks
With water, milk, vegetable and/or fruit juice
Post Workout Small Meals
With water, milk, vegetable and/or fruit juice
Post Workout Large Meals
With water, milk, vegetable and/or fruit juice
Chocolate Rice Pudding Maple walnut rice cakes with fruit salad Lemon Herb Pilaf with Glazed Salmon
Honey rice muffin with almond butter and ½ banana Apple pilau (for the vegetarians amongst us! Curry Chicken and Rice Casserole
Chocolate chip banana nut rice pudding Sushi Bowl Simply stir-fried rice with leftover meat
Dairy-less fig and raspberry rice pudding Fiesta Layered Salad Rice and beef burritos

For recipes for all of these pre and post-workout meals, visit the USA Rice Federation and click the Recipe link.

Quick tip: you can bulk cook rice and keep it in the fridge for a few days – easy to heat up OR eat cold, but do not freeze your cooked rice. If you’re looking for a foolproof way to cook rice, try a rice steamer. Alternatively you can substitute quinoa for rice –  it cooks the same way and is a different taste for when you want something different.

Beth will be posting regularly in this space about food, nutrition and fuelling. Be sure to visit her website and to follow her on Twitter.