Golfing is a great way to accumulate FitPoints while enjoying the great outdoors for hours at a time. But sometimes, the food offerings at the golf course are less than healthy. This guide to eating and staying hydrated on the links will have you playing like a pro (and keep your weight loss goals in check) in no time.
Begin with a breakfast for champions
Whether you eat breakfast before leaving the house or before you tee off, make sure that your meal contains a source of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat for peak athletic performance. Examples of this nutritional trifecta include oatmeal with fresh fruit and nut butter, eggs with wholegrain toast and avocado, or turkey sausages with sweet potato hash and a dollop of plain yogurt. Many clubhouses will feature a breakfast buffet, often filled with fried foods and sugary options. Stick to the above recommendations (or a combination you love) and you’ll find it’s easy to find low or ZeroPoint foods for your first meal of the day.
Revamp the boxed lunch
Instead of the usual boxed lunches that are offered by the course, many of which contain chips, cookies and other sweets as well as juice or pop, bring your own lunch and snacks in a small, sturdy cooler. If clubhouse rules forbid outside food, check with the manager to see if they offer healthier options or if it’s possible to order a different lunch ahead of time.
Choose wisely at the buffet and salad bar
Salad bars are the perfect vehicle for making the ultimate 0 SmartPoints meal, especially if they’re packed full of veggies, fruit, lean protein, and tangy vinaigrettes. Fried toppings, croutons, bacon bits, cheese, and creamy dressings can quickly turn a virtuous salad into a meal that’s high in both SmartPoints and saturated fats. When it comes to a buffet, grilled fish, poultry, tofu, and veggies are all tasty ZeroPoints foods that will leave you feeling satiated after a long day on the course.
Other factors to keep in mind for a better game of golf
Getting enough pre-game rest. A good night’s rest will do wonders for your energy levels and ability to concentrate on the game. For a truly deep rest it’s important to follow good sleep hygiene: sleep in a cold, completely dark room and avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your game. To prevent dehydration and possible sun stroke, stick to water and save alcoholic drinks until after the round (or skip them altogether.)
- Know what to avoid. Alcohol, excessive sodium (think hot dogs and potato chips), simple carbohydrates (such as donuts, cookies, chocolate, and pancakes) and sugary energy drinks should all be avoided before and during a game of golf. While all of these items are a common sight at the clubhouse, you’ll potentially end up dehydrated and exhausted if consumed.
- Eat small snacks at regular times. Eating nutrient dense snacks consistently over the course of the game will keep your hunger levels and energy in check. Small portions of unsalted nuts, roasted chickpeas, dried fruit, and trail mix are all good examples of mid-game snack choices.
Be sun smart. While golf is a great excuse to get closer to nature, attention to proper sun protection is paramount. The Canadian Dermatology Association recommends wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen (meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of at least 30. Wear a hat and long-sleeved, light clothing whenever possible and seek shelter in the shade if the sun becomes overwhelming.