You love to feel the burn as you push your body to its limits. It could be long-distance running or hitting the weight machine at the gym. It might be something completely different. Whatever the case, going the distance in your workout requires the right fuel. These 10 pre-workout snack ideas will give you the energy you need to slay your daily routine.
- But First, Some Grounding
- Your Pre-Workout Snack Options
- What about Portion Size of Pre-Workout Snacks?
- Healthy Hacks Can Improve Your Workout
- Consider a Pre-Workout Supplement
- Get the Right Post-Workout Snacks
- Here’s to Healthy Success!
But First, Some Grounding
Before getting into detail on the specific quick, healthy snacks, let’s think about macronutrients (the three macros are carbs, fats, proteins). What macronutrients does your body want before physical activity? What foods will make your body feel and perform its best and help with recovery after the hard work you put in?
The answer is always subjective and will vary according to your goals. However, generally, the priority order is as follows: carbs, protein, fat.
- Carbohydrates not only fuel your brain, but they fuel your muscles and are stored in muscle tissue as glycogen, which allows you to lift, jump, run, and avoid fatigue.
- Protein keeps you from being hungry while facilitating the recovery process and providing amino acids (building blocks of muscle).
- Healthy fats will also help with satiety as they slow down digestion, as well as provide essential fatty acids for hormonal and cell membrane health.
Your Pre-Workout Snack Options
Now that I’ve reviewed the importance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, it’s time to highlight some delicious, power-packed snacks that will jumpstart your workout success:
- Simple and Effective: Eat a banana with 1 tbsp nut butter (your call on the nut butter type, of course) for carbs, protein, and the right type of fat.
- The Classic: Opt for oatmeal with berries, flax seeds, and 1/2 scoop protein powder and give your body a satisfying hit of all three macros.
- The Mediterranean: Indulge in Greek yogurt with dried fruit and granola for equal measures of carbs, protein, and healthy fats.
- The Handy Snack: Fuel your body with trail mix. Make your own with your favorite cereal like Chex Mix, Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch; your favorite nuts/seeds; and dried fruits like mango, cherries, banana chips, raisins, or cranberries. You can even add sweet treats like marshmallows, chocolate chips, and sweet coconut.
- The Griller: Pack in the protein and carbs with grilled chicken and sweet potato.
- The Morning Eye-Opener: Choose your favorite cereal and low-fat milk.
- The Millennial: Want something a bit more contemporary but just as healthy? Consider a hard-boiled egg and avocado toast.
- An Apple a Day: Snack on an apple dipped in almond butter to add carbs, natural sugars, and protein.
- Pop ‘Ems: Whip up a batch of protein and oats energy balls for a satisfying snack that will keep you going strong.
- The Lighter Side: Snack on rice cakes with nut butter, chia seeds, and a sliced banana for a balanced mix of macros to fuel your workout efforts.
What about Portion Size of Pre-Workout Snacks?
One of the most challenging things to master when it comes to eating right is portion size. That applies to your pre-workout snack options as much as it does to your full meals. So, how much should you prepare? There’s no easy answer here.
The portion size is related to how close in time your workout is and how well you tolerate food before working out. For example: if you know that bananas tend to sit on your stomach, it’s probably not a good idea to have a banana right before a workout.
Healthy Hacks Can Improve Your Workout
Those delicious pre-workout snacks are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to things to fuel your workout success. You need a variety of healthy hacks to help you motivate yourself, track progress, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. For instance, keeping a food diary can help you understand how your body reacts to different foods when eaten before and after workouts so you can make informed decisions.
Consider a Pre-Workout Supplement
Not a fan of eating before working out? Many people find that it doesn’t work for them. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice performance to avoid feeling too full to exercise. Instead, consider pre-workout supplements. You’ll discover a very wide range of options on the market that bring a lot to the table, including caffeine, branch chain amino acids, creatine HCL, and more. However, avoid supplements that contain unwanted ingredients like artificial coloring, D-aspartic acid, and proprietary blends that don’t disclose their ingredients.
Get the Right Post-Workout Snacks
As you track your performance with pre-workout snacks, you might find that your body does better when refueled, rather than pre-fueled. Some people simply don’t do well with any type of snack before a workout. If eating a pre-workout snack makes you feel that the food is sitting heavily on your stomach, it might be wise to skip the pre-workout dining and go for a recovery snack, instead.
The right post-workout snack can offer important recovery benefits for your muscles, tendons, and other tissues. Nuts, eggs, bananas, yogurt, chicken, superfoods like blueberries and cherries, and healthy fat-packed cottage cheese can be ideal muscle recovery foods that help you bounce back faster and stronger.
Here’s to Healthy Success!
With the 10 pre-workout snacks (and the alternatives) we’ve discussed, you should be ready to conquer the world. Take the time to experiment, track your results with different snacks and eating patterns, and then design a routine that works for your specific body and nutritional requirements. Remember—fitness and health is an incredibly personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. Customize your approach to see the results you deserve.