These Are The Best Snacks For Before And After Your Workout
What you eat before and after a workout is just as important as the actual sweat session itself. Without proper fuel, the body can’t work optimally, and without solid recovery, the body can’t reap all the benefits of exercise effectively. That’s just how it works.
But figuring what to snack on pre and post workout doesn’t have to be something you stress over. Just follow these basic nutrition guidelines and try these simple snack ideas if you don’t feel like making your own recipes.
Unless you go for your jog first thing in the morning, consider consuming a pre-workout snack anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours before exercising. This time window is ideal for stocking the body with carbohydrates (read: energy) and a little protein to give you a boost of muscular strength. The closer you get to your workout time, the less you want to eat so you have time to digest and don’t start your workout feeling weighed down. Also, some people just don’t like how it feels to work out on a full stomach, so if that sounds like you, know that a balanced snack is perfectly acceptable as well.
1. Plain Greek yogurt with berries and granola (allow a longer digestion window since this is a bigger meal and includes dairy)
2. Oatmeal with banana slices and walnuts (eat this one at least an hour before exercising, too)
3. Two hard-boiled eggs and a piece of whole grain toast (also allow for at least an hour of digestion time)
4. One small banana with 2-3 tablespoons of almond butter
5. An apple with 2-3 tablespoons of peanut butter and a sprinkling of chia seeds
6. Veggie sticks and pretzel chips with a few tablespoons of your favorite hummus
7. A piece of toast with peanut butter, banana and honey
8. Two rice cakes with two tablespoons of almond butter
9. A handful of your favorite dried fruit alongside a tablespoon of raw cashews
10. A fruit and nut bar (like Larabar)
Now, unlike with pre-workout snacking, there are no exceptions to the eat-after-exercise rule. Your body recovers between 30 minutes and two hours after you complete your cool-down moves, so it’s critical to consume protein and healthy carbs in that 30-minute window following your workout to help your body rebuild as best as it can. A lot of people don’t feel hungry after a grueling workout (like us) and often end up skipping this step (also like us). But instead of missing out on important nutrition, reach for an easy (and not so heavy) post-workout snack option instead.
1. A glass of chocolate milk
2. A fruit smoothie made with plain Greek yogurt or your preferred protein powder
3. A handful (or two) of your favorite trail mix
4. Whole grain crackers with slices of a hard, sharp cheese (like cheddar) and apples
5. A simple spinach and egg white omelet
6. Pita bread triangles with hummus
7. A bowl of cottage cheese with fresh pineapple chunks
8. Roasted sweet potato wedges and a piece of grilled chicken
9. A can of sardines with your preferred crackers
10. A whole grain toaster waffle with two tablespoons of nut butter and berries
And in general, you always want to remember to hydrate before, during and after exercise. Drinking enough water is key to keeping your metabolism moving at a healthy pace, regulating your body temperature and transporting nutrients to different locations throughout your body (among many other things). You can’t live without it, and you have to try really hard to get too much of it. So worst case scenario, if the pre- and post-workout snacking doesn’t happen for you some days, at least make sure you prioritize water intake.