Energizing Pre- and Post-Workout Snacks

by Mireille Najjar

Choosing what to eat before and after a workout is important to maintain steady energy and to keep your metabolism going. Read on for some simple pre- and post-workout snacks that offer the right balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein to satisfy hunger, fuel workouts and aid in recovery.

Pre-Workout Snacks

Strategically timed snacks can give your body the fuel it needs to gain muscle, burn fat and recover quickly. Grab a carbohydrate-rich snack about 1-2 hours before your workout, depending on its size and contents. Here are some good options to choose from:

Yogurt parfait

Top ¼ cup of nonfat yogurt with ½ cup of whole-grain cereal and ½ cup of fresh strawberries, and mix together in a bowl.

Whole-wheat toast with sliced banana and cinnamon

Whole-wheat toast with fruit is a good source of complex carbohydrates and is easy to digest. Complex carbohydrates will keep your body on a steady energy supply, while the fruit will add extra energy and nutrients. Bananas are a good source of potassium, which your body loses when you sweat. Add some cinnamon; studies in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine and Diabetes Care report it’s linked to stabilizing blood sugar and improving lipid and cholesterol levels.

Fruit and cottage cheeseWorkout Snacks

Top ½ cup of cottage cheese, which is low in calories and high in protein with ½ cup of fresh pineapple, berries or melon.

Vegetable omelet

For a protein-packed snack, combine 2 whole eggs shaken with 1 teaspoon of water cooked with 1 cup of sautéed seasonal veggies.

Hearty salad

Try 1 cup of salad greens with assorted veggies, 1 hardboiled egg and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and vinegar or your favorite low-fat dressing.

Post-Workout Snacks

After a workout, snacks are a good way to restore energy and rebuild muscle. Eat a snack 30-60 minutes after exercise to rebuild tissue that is broken down during exercise and to help your body recover quickly. Here are some snacks you can look forward to:

Chocolate and banana trail mix

Blend ½ cup each of macadamia nuts, dried coconut, dark chocolate chips and banana chips for a simple snack to munch on.

Protein pancakes

Mix 4 egg whites, ½ cup of rolled oats, ½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese, 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder and ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Cook on a preheated griddle (medium low heat) until it bubbles, then flip and cook for another 30-60 seconds. Top with fresh berries or sliced banana.

Banana shake

Blend 1 medium banana, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1 cup of low-fat chocolate milk with ice in a blender.

Bagel with egg whites

Half a medium-sized whole-grain bagel with 2 egg whites makes a great post-workout sandwich with the right amount of carbohydrates and protein.

Scrambled eggs

Give your body some protein and vegetables with 2-3 scrambled whole eggs and a handful of chopped onion, spinach and bell peppers.

Mireille Najjar is a first-year NUTCOM student who is really working on exercising more…especially now that it’s nice and sunny outside.

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