“Hey, Morela, I exercise regularly, but I’ve only recently learned the importance of eating before and after training. Can you recommend some easy-to-make and healthy pre and post-workout snacks?”
There is an ongoing debate about the effectiveness of pre and post-workout nutrition. Some swear by them, while others believe missing out does no harm. My take is simple: choosing the right, nutritiously balanced pre, and post-workout snacks can elevate your workout and catalyze muscle-building.
The importance of pre-workout snacks is a no-brainer. If you put your body through an intense workout, know that it needs the proper nutrition for optimum performance. Taking a pre-workout snack 30 to 60 minutes before exercise will load your muscle’s glycogen stores and help you reach your fitness goals faster.
Similarly, taking a light and easy post-workout snack within two hours of exercise will aid muscle recovery, refueling the glycogen stores. Preferably, you should focus on post-workout snacks rich in carbohydrates and protein to maximize your session’s benefit!
Here are some of the best and easy pre-workout snacks that you can try:
Fuel your body for a longer-lasting workout with this perfect green smoothie loaded with healthy fats, carbs, and protein. Add your choice of fresh spinach, bananas, apples, oats, and unsweetened almond milk and blend. Your smoothie is ready in a minute! Feel an instant energy boost without feeling too heavy before a workout.
Peanut Butter and Banana Toast
Chow down on a toast of peanut butter and bananas to give your muscles the energy they need during exercise. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and sliced bananas on whole wheat bread. The peanut butter adds protein to the snack, enhancing muscle growth during your workout session.
Low-Fat Yogurt with Berries
Enjoy a delicious (and nutritious) blend of carbs and protein with low-fat yogurt and your choice of berries. You can easily whip up this concoction by adding 1 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt to half a cup of fresh blueberries. Get your dose of energy-boosting carbs and protein to aid strength and performance.
Oatmeal with Low-Fat Milk and Fruits
If you work out in the mornings, start your day with a bowl of fiber-rich whole-grain oatmeal and your choice of fruit to stay energized for a longer workout. Get a dose of protein by adding some low-fat milk to the mix. Delicious and easy to make, you’ll love this filling pre-workout snack!
Here are some of the best post-workout snacks that you can try:
Low-Fat Chocolate Milk Protein Shake
Take a trip down memory lane with delicious chocolate milk, loaded with carbs and protein, to refuel your muscles after a strenuous exercise session. Since chocolate milk is 90% water, you’ll replace some fluids you lost during the workout. Just add your favorite protein powder to this quick and easy to make shake. This is the perfect, no-hassle post-workout shake to refuel your muscles.
Egg Scramble and Whole-Wheat Toast
Toast some whole-wheat bread rich in carbs and fiber to refuel your energy after the workout session and balance blood sugar levels. Serve this bread with 1-2 quick scrambled eggs, which are a rich source of protein to aid muscle recovery and enhance post-workout muscle building.
If you don’t have the time to flip a quick scrambled egg, you can settle for easy protein bars that fulfill your body’s requirement for this nutrient. Protein bars are excellent for refueling, but make sure you pick one with a minimum of 10 to 12 grams of protein and less than 4 grams of sugar.
Turkey with Low-Fat Cheese and Apple Slices
This nutritious snack is excellent as a post-workout meal. The lean turkey meat and the cheese are protein-rich, and they will catalyze the muscle refueling process. The apple will help your body recover the potassium it lost during exercise.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing a pre and post-workout snack. With a little trial and error, you’ll soon understand what works best for you! The pre and post-workout snacks mentioned above should give you an excellent place to start. Let your creative juices flow, and mix and match to create easy yet nutritious snacks that meet your physical fitness goals.