What to Eat for Your Job
Always on the goThe aerobics instructor
Who she is: Hope Carter-Snoap, 36, married with a 7-month-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. Body stats: five-three, 128 pounds Personal weight goals: "I'm very muscular, so I look good at my current weight. But I'd like to get to one hundred and twenty."
Job demands: A former National Aerobics Champion, Carter-Snoap teaches aerobics and works as a personal trainer at a YMCA in Orlando, Florida. An average day includes two 90-minute aerobics classes and three personal training sessions.
What she eats: Because she likes variety, Carter-Snoap's breakfast fare changes daily. Favorites include cereal with milk, oatmeal with a spoonful of peanut butter, yogurt with fruit, a bagel with cream cheese, or eggs and toast. She rarely has juice, but always drinks at least one cup of coffee or tea.
Lunch varies, but is often turkey or chicken with pickles and fruit. She never eats before teaching to avoid cramps or an upset stomach. But sometimes she feels tired in the middle of class.
Carter-Snoap's big meal of the day is dinner, where she often tries out recipes gleaned from TV cooking shows. A typical supper consists of a meat or fish entree, a large green salad, sauteed mixed vegetables (usually zucchini, carrots and green beans), seasonal fruit (like strawberries or melon) and a glass of red or white wine.
About three nights a week, she has a bowl of chocolate-chip ice cream for dessert. Her favorite between-meal treat is six or seven Oreos dipped in milk. "I'll do that a couple of times a week when I just really need something to make me feel good," she says. To prevent dehydration, she drinks about ten glasses of water a day.
Diet diagnosis: With such a physically demanding job, Carter-Snoap needs to load up on carbohydrates. "Women who are aerobics instructors, athletes or dancers require more carbohydrates than the average person to refuel their exercising muscles," Zanecosky says.
While Carter-Snoap gets plenty of energy-fueling carbs at breakfast and lunch, she should add some bread or pasta to her evening meal. Complex carbohydrates (grains, starch, vegetables) work slowly to replenish energy reserves (simple carbohydrates, such as fruits, milk and sugar, provide quick bursts of energy). Starchy vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes would also be good choices.
To prevent mid-workout energy lapses, Carter-Snoap should have a glass of orange juice or a banana shortly before class. Both are simple carbohydrates that are easily absorbed and shouldn't cause cramping. Carter-Snoap's rigorous exercise routine is also giving her bones a workout, Zanecosky says. She can sneak extra calcium into her diet by adding milk to her coffee or tea. Because her weight is healthy, her ice-cream and cookies-and-milk treats pose no problem. "It's important to have a few snacks that you really love," Zanecosky says.
Although Carter-Snoap guzzles ten glasses of water a day, she's still not getting enough. Athletes who exercise two hours or more per day need to drink a gallon of water -- about sixteen 8-ounce glasses.
Perfect peak-performance meal: Spaghetti and meatballs; a tossed salad with carrots; and for dessert, ice cream with fruit.