10 Pre-Workout Snacks To Fuel Your Fitness

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

I'm changing things up a bit this week with my gym routine since the girls are home for spring break. Rather than going first thing in the morning, I've been hitting the gym late morning most days. Heading to the gym later than usual means I have to have a pre-workout snack. I haven't been eating a full meal (not even breakfast) since it takes a few hours after I wake up to get hungry. But a small protein-packed snack has been a must.

Here are a few of the things I think about before I reach for a pre-workout snack:

1) How intense the workout will be: If you’re planning a leisurely one-hour stroll, you may not need anything additional. If you’re feeling famished, grab a small snack, one with less than 150 calories. However, if you’ve got a high-intensity workout planned, fueling your routine will be vital.

2) When you can eat: If you’ll be hitting the gym in a few hours, you can process more complex snacks, like peanut butter on toast or chicken with vegetables. However, if you’ve got a shorter window of time—less than hour, for example—you need something your body can break down and use quickly, such as a smoothie or fruit and cheese.

3) How you tolerate food on your stomach while you exercise: If you’ve become ill after eating a pre-workout snack before, you may want to reconsider eating before your workout. Heavy exercise on an empty stomach can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, and nausea, but eating too much can be problematic for some people, too. Take stock of how well you’ve tolerated food in the past and adjust your timing or quantity to reduce your risk for getting sick again.

Here are 10 pre-workout snacks to fuel your fitness:
Pre-workout snacks require a balance of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Carbs are an instant energy source, while protein helps your muscles rebound and recover after a workout. These snacks reach that balance and happen to be delicious, too.

Granola Apple Rings: Slice an apple into 1/2-inch thick slices. Smear the nut butter of your choice on the apple rings, and dip each ring in low-sugar granola.

Whole-Grain Banana-Nut Toast: Toast one slice of whole-grain bread. Smear nut butter and top with banana slices and walnut pieces.

Turkey-Avocado Rollups: Spread mashed avocado on several slices of turkey breast. Fill with matchstick carrots or cucumber wedges. Roll up, and cut in half.

Hummus and Carrots: Carrot sticks with traditional hummus

Homemade Trail Mix: Mix 1/4 cup cashews, dried cranberries, almonds, pecans, banana chips, and raisins. (Skip the chocolate, and nix the added sugar). Divide the mixture into 5 individual servings.

Green Smoothie: Whirr frozen strawberries, pineapple pieces, lime juice, orange juice, and spinach for a fresh green smoothie with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Add a heaping scoop of Greek yogurt for protein and healthy fats.

Crackers with Fruit and Cheese: Top six rice crackers with 1/4-inch slices of pear and brie. (Blue cheese would also be delicious with pears.)

Greek Yogurt Parfait: Top 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup berries and low-sugar granola.

Berry Oatmeal: Cook oatmeal according to package directions. Stir 1/4 cup almond butter and fresh berries into oatmeal.

Almond-Date Energy Bars : These raw energy bars are chock-full of healthy fats, proteins, and carbs. Chopped, pitted dates replace sugary mixtures to make all the ingredients stick together. Maple syrup provides delicate sweetness for a delicious pre-workout snack that also makes a great breakfast when you’re pinched for time.

Recipes appear courtesy of eMeals.

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