Pre-Workout Fuel: Choosing the Right Snacks
It’s January and that means resolution season is in full swing. If you’ve made the goal to lose weight, tone up, or get healthy in 2016, you’re most likely hitting the gym regularly right now. It’s important to not only have enough pre-workout fuel to get you through, but to also have the right kind of fuel, too.
While you shouldn’t stuff yourself right before working out, exercising on an empty stomach can hinder your routine, leaving you without enough energy. This can ultimately cause your body to look to its own muscle for fuel. Not eating before a workout can also result in low blood sugar, which leads to light-headedness and early fatigue.
Here are some of the most pre-workout friendly snacks so you can maximize every moment of your workout routine.
Protein bars. Select high-quality protein bar options, but be careful to avoid those that contain a lot of sugar and artificial ingredients. The ideal bar will be less than 200 calories and at least 5 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbohydrates.
Apple slices and nut butter. This combo provides the perfect harmony of carbs and fiber from the apple and protein from the nut butter.
Quinoa bowl. Combine ½ cup cooked quinoa with ½ cup almond milk and a selection of fruit. The carbs in quinoa will provide long-lasting energy while the natural sugar in fruit will give you a little energy boost.
Pistachios and blueberries. Berries are full of anti-inflammatory properties that help with workout recovery. Pistachios are full of protein. Plus, who doesn’t love a sweet and salty combo?
Whole wheat toast with sliced banana. Hello complex and simple carbs! This combination will release energy slow and steady throughout your entire workout keeping you fueled for the long haul.
Bananas. You can never go wrong with the mother of all workout snacks, the banana. That’s because it’s loaded with easily digestable carbs and potassium, which helps maintain nerve and muscle function for high-performance.
Veggies and avocados. Avocados are loaded with monosaturated fats (the good kind!) that help your body better absorb fat-soluble nutrients from the vegetables, like vitamins A, D, E, and K. The antioxidants in veggies are also great for giving an extra boost.
Low-fat cottage cheese and sprouted lentils. Sprouted lentils have one of the best fiber-to-protein-to-carbohydrate ratios. Added with cottage cheese for some extra protein, and you’re good to go!
Hardboiled egg. The protein in eggs aid in muscle recovery and growth from intense workouts. Plus, they’re really easy to make ahead of time and grab on the go!
Greek yogurt and trail mix. Greek yogurt is really easy on the stomach, making it ideal to eat before a workout. Pairing it with trail mix gives you a surge of energy from the natural sugar in the dried fruit and some healthy fats found in the nuts and seeds.
Steel cut oats with berries. Steel cut oats are high in slowly digesting carbohydrates, which keep you going longer. Berries are full of antioxidants to help your body fight stressors from working out.
Smoothies. Add in Greek yogurt for high amounts of protein, rolled oats for fiber, and fruit galore for extra energy.
Coconut water. Also known as “Nature’s Gatorade,” coconut water contains natural electrolytes and less than half the sugar found in store bought sports drinks. You can drink it straight, add it to a smoothie, or use it to steam vegetables.
Protein shake. Look for shakes that provide high-quality protein and aren’t full of artificial ingredients, colors, dyes, and preservatives. It’s an easy go-to, quick, and convenient.
Water. Yes, plain old water. It’s probably the most important thing to consume before working out. Without it, your muscles will cramp, you’ll tire quickly, and lose stamina easily. Always make sure to drink plenty of liquids (water is ideal) before hitting the gym for the best workout.
Don’t leave the house again without adequate pre-workout fuel. We hope these snack ideas will prepare you for the healthiest workout ever!