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.
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:
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.
Top ½ cup of cottage cheese, which is low in calories and high in protein with ½ cup of fresh pineapple, berries or melon.
For a protein-packed snack, combine 2 whole eggs shaken with 1 teaspoon of water cooked with 1 cup of sautéed seasonal veggies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.