By Daryl Jones, Bachelor of Science, Nutrition - SYA Coach

Hello everyone, I hope you are all doing well. I want to write a little bit about carbohydrates. Last time I wrote about protein and how many people are concerned about not getting enough protein but they are. Well, when it comes to carbohydrates most people don’t really think about how much they are getting and they may not be getting enough.

Carbohydrates supply energy to the cells of the body. This includes the brain, parts of the nervous system, the blood, and muscles. They also:

1. Influence communication among cells.

2. Affect the structure/function of protein.

3. Supply raw materials to build compounds.

4. Promote elimination of waste.

5. Contribute to energy reserves.

The amount of carbohydrates that we need is directly associated to what we are doing, how much we weigh, and muscle mass. For example, endurance athletes (competitive events that last >90 minutes) will benefit from more extra carbs than athletes that run sprints. Carb recommendations for athletes range between 3-12g of carbohydrate/kg of body weight/day. Athletes should consume 60%-75% of their energy from carbs.

Light training or low intensity training 3-5g/kg/day

Moderate intensity training (60 minutes/day) 5-7g/kg/day

Moderate-high intensity training (1-3 hours) 6-10g/kg/day

Moderate-high intensity training (4-5 hours) like endurance races 8-12g/kg/day

These are general guidelines and should be adjusted to fit the individual athletes training needs.

Basically, consuming the adequate amount of carbs daily is necessary to replenish muscle and liver glycogen (energy) between training sessions and competitions.

There are three ways to increase carb availability:

1. Consuming carbs in the hours or days before exercise.

2. Ingesting carbs during exercise.

3. Consuming carbs after exercise.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that an athlete eat a meal or snack that is relatively high in carbs. They also recommend that eating carbs 30 minutes, two hours, and four hours after exercise can help to replenish glycogen stores in the liver and muscles.

There are two types of carbs, simple, and complex. Simple carbs (simple sugars) are things like fruit sugar (fructose), table sugar (sucrose), and milk sugar (lactose). Complex carbs are also made up of sugars and include fiber and starches. Foods like whole grains, peas, beans, and vegetables.  

While I’m sure you would all love for me to go on and on about carbohydrates, I’ll leave you with this. Here are some good sources of carbs: 

1. Grains

1. Rice

2. Cooked pasta

3. Popcorn

4. Pretzels

5. Whole-grain toast

6. Oatmeal

2. Beans and Starchy Vegetables

1. Black bean

2. Baked beans

3. Green beans

4. Corn

5. Mashed potatoes

6. Green peas

3. Mixed Dishes

1. Pizza with meat/veggie topping.

2. Bean and rice burrito.

3. Black beans and rice

4. Mac and cheese

5. Tomato soup

6. Noodle soup

4. Fruit and juice

1. Fresh strawberries

2. Orange

3. Cran-apple juice

4. Apple

5. Orange juice

5. Dairy and other beverages

1. Chocolate milk or non-dairy

2. Yogurt (fruit or plain)

3. Nutrition shake

4. Hot chocolate with milk or water

Those are just a few ideas but there are so many options. Here is a recipe that I like to make that has a fair amount of carbs:

Pasta Salad


1 lb spiral pasta of choice

2 tbsp sea salt *for boiling noodles

For the Vinaigrette

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 3 lemons {little over 1/2 cup}

2-3 garlic cloves *minced or crushed

1 tbsp dill

2 tsp salt

1 lg English cucumber *peeled & cut into half coins

3 cups tear drop tomatoes *cut in half

1 can whole olives drained

3/4 cup red onion cut into small strips

1 cup mini sweet bell peppers cut into rings {about 4}

5 cups broccoli florets {about 2 broccoli crowns}

1 bunch asparagus *ends cut off & cut into thirds


1. Prepare noodles of choice to al dente, following instructions on package and boiling in heavily salted water.

2. Wash and cut broccoli into florets. Place in colander and when noodles are done drain over top of broccoli.

3. While water for noodles is coming to a boil prepare vinaigrette. Place olive oil in large mixing bowl. Whisk in lemon juice until emulsified. Add garlic, dil and salt. Stir well.

4. Wash and cut asparagus in thirds making sure to cut off tough ends. Bring a med pot of water to boil. Once boiling turn off heat and add cut asparagus. Let sit in hot water for 2-4 minutes or until desired doneness. Time will vary depending on thickness of spears. Drain and add to vinaigrette,

5. Prepare cold veggies (cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, & olives) and set aside until noodles are cooled off to almost room temperature.

6. Once noodles are done cooking drain over top of broccoli florets. Add to vinaigrette and stir well. Let sit for about 10 mins, cooling to almost room temp and add cold cut up veggies. Toss well.

7. This recipe tastes great fresh or chilled.

I hope you all have a great day and if you have any questions please shoot me an email at and I’ll see what I can dig up.


Go Cardinals!!!


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