Everyone’s workout is different, so nutritional needs vary from person to person. For those starting a walking program, no special diet is generally required. But there are some important factors to keep in mind to ensure proper nutrition for your workout.
6 Diet Tips for Walkers
1. Balance Protein, Carbs, and Healthy Fats
- Carbohydrates provide energy.
- Protein aids in the repair of muscle.
- Healthy fats help maintain cell structure and support organ health.
- Balancing these nutrients in meals (examples below) provides a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
1 piece of whole grain toast
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
Lunch or dinner:
3 oz grilled chicken
½ cup whole wheat angel hair pasta
¼ cup marina sauce
2 cups spinach salad with 3 tablespoons light Italian dressing
2. Snack Before the Walk
If you plan to start your day with a walk prior to eating breakfast, consider grabbing a small snack like a piece of fruit and then having breakfast once you are done.
3. Keep Blood Sugar Up if Diabetic
If you are a diabetic, you may need a snack depending on your blood sugar prior to exercise.
4. Ditch the Shakes and Sports Drinks
Protein shakes or supplements are not needed to receive the benefits of a walking program. Similarly, nutrient-rich sports drinks also contain large amounts of sugar and are really only beneficial for those doing high-intensity workouts for 60 minutes or more.
5. Do Drink Plenty of Water!
Hydration is critical to your body and also can help aid in weight loss. Remember to bring a bottle of water while walking -- especially on hot days! How to know if you’re drinking enough H2O? If you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated. Urine should be pale yellow. If it’s clear, you’re overhydrating.
6. Walking to Lose Weight
If you’re walking to lose weight, resist the urge to treat yourself to an extra snack. Keep in mind walking for 30 minutes burns around 90 calories. That’s the equivalent of 13 whole almonds or 2/3-ounce of dark chocolate or a hard-boiled egg.