A gymnast will perform better when she's energized.

The Best Pre-Workout Foods Before Gymnastics Practices

by Debbie Lechtman

Every week, you pick your child up from school and rush her to gymnastics practice. Because of the time constraint, preparing a healthy snack is the last thing on your mind. However, you know that athletes need adequate fuel to train. Before you stop at the nearest fast food joint, make a list of nutritious, quick foods that will produce much better results.

1. Peanut Butter Sandwich

Prepare half a peanut butter sandwich for your child before practice. Use whole-wheat bread, if possible. Spread some low-sugar jelly or raw honey over the peanut butter for a delicious combination. This snack has between 20 and 35 grams of carbs. The body uses carbs for energy, so USA Gymnastics suggests that boys and girls eat 1 gram of carbs per 2.2 pounds of body weight prior to training.

2. Fruit and Cheese

A simple snack of a large banana, 1/2 cup of blueberries and string cheese is nutritious and will provide your child with the energy he needs during his workout. In total, this small meal has about 55 grams of carbs that will fill the athlete with fuel to perform. The protein in the cheese will also help repair the damaged muscles after practice. The fruit is not only delicious, but it will hydrate the gymnast thanks to its high water content.

3. Sports Drink

If there's little time to prepare a snack or meal, a sports drink before practice is better than nothing. After drinking it, the athlete is less likely to suffer from dehydration. Generic sports drinks are also filled with carbs -- anywhere from 30 to 50 grams per serving -- so your child's muscles will be properly energized before hitting the gym.

4. Yogurt and Granola

A serving of yogurt with a quarter of a cup of granola is relatively high in energy-providing carbohydrates, with about 35 grams. Like string cheese, the yogurt is filled with protein that will help the gymnast's muscles recover after a hard practice. This snack is also easy to digest, so she won't feel sluggish or heavy during the training session.

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images