- Apr 29, 2012
If you eat the right snack 30-60 minutes before a workout, you’ll optimize your ability to gain muscle, burn fat, and recover better.
These smart picks will help you feel satiated and powered up for your workout.
Whether you work out in the morning or afternoon, it’s hard to tackle a fitness routine while hungry or low on energy. But finding pre-workout foods that are filling but light enough to not to weigh you down can be a bit of a challenge.
Here are 10 smart bets.
1. Peanut butter and apple slices: The protein in peanut butter and the fiber and carbs in an apple come together to keep you feeling satisfied. Go for 1 medium apple and 1-2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter.
2. An egg and whole grain crackers: The protein in the egg (hard-boiled is best for on the go!) and the complex carbs in whole grain crackers make a smart, satiating combo.
3. Cottage cheese with fruit: If dairy doesn’t upset your stomach, you can do a half-cup of protein-rich cottage cheese with a half-cup of fresh, low-glycemic fruit, like berries.
4. Greek yogurt with trail mix: Mixing low-fat, high-protein Greek yogurt with trail mix predominantly made up of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit can power up your workout for a couple reasons. The sugars from the dried fruits increase your energy while the protein and fat in the seeds and nuts keep insulin levels stable.
5. Oatmeal and almond butter: The complex carbs in oatmeal release more slowly into the bloodstream than simple carbs, helping keep your energy on an even level as you exercise. And almond butter is a superb source of magnesium, which is integral to muscle contraction and relaxation.
6. Fruit and nut bar: Not all snack bars are made equal, but the ones that are made up of real nuts and fruit are a great bet for a pre-workout pick, thanks to their carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and good fats that keep your oomph up and stomach full. Shoot for a bar that is about 200 calories and at least 4-5 grams each of fiber and protein.
7. Smoothie: Consider mixing yourself a smoothie with fruit, 6 ounces of plain yogurt, and 4 ounces of milk or almond milk. The fruit will supply carbs for energy while the yogurt will offer a nice boost of muscle-supportive calcium.
8. A handful of pistachios and raisins: This two-ingredient combo is powerful because pistachios are rich in potassium, an electrolyte that can help with muscle cramps, while raisins are a natural source of carbohydrates for a quick energy jolt. Snacking on them even increased performance for runners.
9. A banana and a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter: If you’re really in a time crunch, this portable snack is perfect. The banana offers complex carbs and potassium, while any nut butter -- cashew, almond, peanut, etc. -- adds protein and healthy fat to the mix.
10. Sprouted grain bread and cheese: Sprouted grain bread not only generally provides you with more fiber and protein than your average bread, but it’s also antioxidant-packed. Pair it with an ounce of cheese for even more protein and fat, which will keep you firing on all cylinders through your workout.