It can be hard to feel your best and strongest during a workout when you’re exercising on an empty stomach. Eating a small, balanced snack before you exercise is important, as it can help increase your performance by giving you the energy you need to sustain your activity.
Before you workout, eat something small that is easy to digest, and try to eat 45 minutes to an hour before you exercise. Ideal snacks for before your workout contain complex carbohydrates, along with a little fat and protein to help sustain you. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which serves as quick burning energy to fuel your muscles through your exercise. Here are some easy and delicious snacks to try before you hit the gym, the pavement, the pool, or your yoga mat!
Whole grain toast with nut butter, banana, and cinnamon
As the complex carbs from the whole grain toast and banana are digested, they provide you the perfect quick burning energy to fuel your muscles. The protein and fat from the nut butter will offer some staying power that will also keep you energized. A dash of cinnamon adds extra flavor without the sugar, while also helping to stabilize your blood sugar. You can even add chia seeds for a boost of omega 3s.
Brownie energy bites
These snack bites may taste decadent, but they are packed with nourishing ingredients. Munch on one or two before you get ready to workout. They help to level your blood sugar, and give you a boost of unrefined carbohydrates from the rolled oats, fiber from the dates, sustaining fat and protein from the nuts, and a bit of an energy kick from the cacao.
For a bit of a more filling snack or breakfast before a morning workout, try these recipes for overnight oats. Not only do you get complex carbohydrates from the oats and fruit, you get a boost of protein from the Greek yogurt and the chia seeds as well.
The key to eating after working out is to not overdo it on the food. You may feel famished from your exercise, but focus on eating healthy foods to replenish your energy that won’t compromise all the healthy work you just put in during your workout. Choose foods that are satisfying, delicious, and filling, but that are still nutritious and fueling for your body. After your workout, make sure your snack or meal is hydrating, has protein for your muscle recovery, and also has some complex carbohydrates to help replenish your muscles’ glycogen stores.
Recovery protein smoothie
This smoothie is both rehydrating, packs in some sneaky greens, and contains healthy fats as well. Follow this recipe, and just add a scoop of your favorite whey or plant based protein powder for an extra protein boost. Serve it in a bowl with some of your favorite healthy toppings for a more filling meal.
Eggs with veggies, avocado, and sweet potato
Eggs are a great source of protein, and pack 6 grams each. Scramble or fry up an egg or two, and serve them with veggies and sliced avocado for filling, heart healthy fat. Looking to make it more of a filling meal? Add a side of sweet potatoes, which are full of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and give you a boost of beta carotene for healthy skin.
Greek yogurt with nut butter and apple slices
Greek yogurt is both high in protein and also hydrating, as its sodium and potassium levels help to replenish your electrolytes after exercise. Mix your Greek yogurt with peanut or cashew butter for extra protein and monounsaturated fats, and dip apple slices in them for a delicious and filling snack.
Remember, there is no one right or wrong answer as to what you should eat before and after you exercise. Listen to your body and assess what makes you feel the most energized and perform at your best. If you have any questions on what you should be eating before and after you workout, you can consult with one of our doctors at any time about what is best for you!
Author: Maggie Harriman