All the good stuff that can help you achieve your fitness goal.
The great fitness debate—to eat or not to eat? Research has shown that the amount of fat that people can burn during workouts largely depends on whether they’ve fueled-up properly or not. What is known is that working out on an empty stomach can result in having less energy during a workout, although some people still prefer doing just that. Whether you prefer a little pre-workout snack or not, eating smart and healthy in general, always outweighs these more nuanced considerations.
With that being said, eating the right foods before and/or after your workouts can contribute to the burning of calories, feeling more energized, and building up lean body mass.
The right foods before a workout
The right pre-workout foods for the fitness enthusiast should consist of both complex carbs and protein, which allow for the slow and steady release of energy during training sessions. This can boost your energy levels and help you maintain momentum, as opposed to weighing you down and tiring you out. Here are five of our favorite snacks to eat before working out:
1. Yogurt and protein bar
Yogurt is easy on the stomach while a protein bar provides you with the fuel your body needs to get through each workout. Just make sure that the bar is mostly nut and dried fruit, and try to stay away from anything chocolate-based since (just like any candy) it contains unhealthy carbs as well as saturated fats, which are big no-nos.
For fitness enthusiasts on the go, smoothies are always a great choice. Aside from being easy to prepare, you can also make your favorite mixes of fruits, vegetables, fiber and protein supplements, soy milk, etc. One of our favorite recipes is the green smoothie, which consists of spinach, vanilla bean yogurt, banana, and peanut butter.
- Peanut Butter and Banana toast
Fuel up with your all-time favorite peanut butter, and pair that up with tasty banana slices on a piece of whole wheat toast. One to two tablespoons of peanut butter are enough to keep you energized, and banana slices are perfect to raise your potassium levels for post-workout recovery.
- Peanut Butter Apple
Can’t get enough of that delicious peanut butter? Spread one to two tablespoons of it onto a medium sized apple slice. Apples provide healthy sugar, while peanut butter powers up your energy levels.
- Oatmeal and fruit
Oatmeal is another on-the-go snack that you can snack on before training. A half cup of oatmeal is enough, and you can either sweeten it with organic honey or add in a fruit of your choice. If you prefer salty over sweet, add two whole eggs sprinkled with salt and pepper instead.
The right foods after a workout
Although it is said that the best time to eat is right after a workout, you cannot just eat any old types of food. To restore energy that you’ve lost through exercise, as well as rebuild lean body mass, eating the right foods are important. Protein can rebuild lean body mass tissues that break down during workouts, while nutrient-rich foods can help with the body’s overall recovery process. Here are some awesome post-workout snacks that will help you along your way to recovery.
- Vegetable omelet and avocado
Eggs are a great source of protein, making them an excellent choice for a post-workout snack. For even more of a recovery boost, you can add in veggies that are packed with vitamins A, D, E, and K, such as kale, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, or olives. A few slices of avocado will also provide you with much-needed fibers, as well as healthy monounsaturated fats.
- Grilled chicken with veggies
Chicken is packed with lean protein and can make you feel full without feeling bloated. Veggies are packed with nutrients that your body needs when it is in its state of recovery.
- Apples and low-fat cheese
Apples are a smart post-workout snack because they are filled with Vitamin C, fiber, and are also low in calories. Apples also contain water and can contribute to rehydrating your body after sweating through a strenuous workout. One medium sliced apple paired with an ounce of low-fat cheese can greatly aid in rehydrating your body quickly.
- Tuna crackers
Tuna is high in protein, while being low in both carbs and calories. Whole grain crackers provide you with fiber and can make you feel full without the feeling bloated. Make some quick tuna salad and spread it on crackers for a healthy post-workout snack. Remember to opt for a low-fat mayonnaise or just a little bit of olive oil in order to give some substance to your tuna spread.
- Pita and hummus
Hummus is an excellent alternative to mayo and mustard, and can provide your body with a good amount of fiber and protein. You can add some good carbs to the mix with a slice of pita bread in order to provide your body with energy. This combo is a great after workout snack that can not only help you recover, but can also keep your energy levels elevated for hours.
What’s your favorite pre and post-workout snacks? Let us know in the comments below!