bowl of dried fruit with apricot, raisin, fig, dates, and cranberry

Getting into better shape is a great goal to take on, but it is also important to keep in mind that the foods and drinks you consume have a huge impact on your success in fitness.

Food is fuel, and there are lots of foods that can provide energy and nutrients that will boost your body’s ability to exercise. Getting into shape is about more than just hitting the gym or going for a lot of runs, it is also about making good food choices.

Here are some foods and drinks that will help you get the most out of your fitness journey.

overhead view of woman eating bowl of berries with a glass of milk while wearing athleisure

Milk

When searching for hydration, water doesn’t have to be your only option. Milk is a great way to boost your hydration as well as protein and calcium levels.

Drinking a glass of milk can really help boost your activity levels during the day, and drinking a warm glass before bed can also help you fall asleep better. 

Milk is rich in more than just calcium, it is also a good source of vitamin B12, riboflavin, and niacin. These vitamins help your body’s ability to turn food into energy. Likewise, B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and the normal function of the central nervous system. 

So after a workout or before bed, a large glass of milk might be better than a glass of water. It is also very easy to add to meals like smoothies or oatmeal.

You might be surprised to learn that chocolate milk is a favorite of many endurance athletes. This is because it provides two of the most essential nutrients you need after a workout, carbs, and protein. 

Dried Fruit

Dried fruits are high in natural sugars, however they are a wonderful source of concentrated carbohydrates which give the perfect boost of energy. You can find almost any dried fruit, but some popular ones include raisins, apricots, and figs.

Dried fruit is also a wonderful source of fiber and antioxidants and contains more of these benefits than fresh fruit. It is important to remember however, that dried fruits are high in natural sugar and calories, so they should be enjoyed in moderation.

If you are going for a long run or walk and want a way to boost your energy halfway through, these are a great alternative to gel energy packs. This is also a great snack before a workout, and one to two servings is a perfect amount. For reference, one serving of dried figs is about 3 of them depending on the size. 

Broccoli and Other Green Vegetables

Broccoli, and other green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and green cabbage, are a great source of antioxidants and fiber. Fiber promotes healthy digestion, so adding some greens to your diet will help you with the other foods you eat.

In addition to fiber, there are a ton of helpful vitamins and minerals in these foods, and they are some of the most nutrient-rich foods you can buy. 

If you are looking to add more calcium to your diet, but are also trying to avoid dairy products, these plant foods could be your answer. When you have low calcium levels, your bones are not as strong which makes you more susceptible to fractures.

If you are participating in heavy exercise or endurance sports, it is important to make sure that you are also getting enough calcium. 

Jenn Walker

Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beach goer operating out of Southern New Jersey. She often writes about cosmetic dentistry and other procedures.