If it has been more than a couple of hours since your last meal, a pre-workout snack is a good idea. Choose one with easily digestible carbs for quick energy and consume about 30 minutes before your workout. Here are some good choices to try.
If you work out in the morning…
Greek yogurt with a banana
This snack fits the bill perfectly as bananas are a great source of potassium, which the body needs but doesn’t store, and easily digestible carbs. The yogurt will provide your protein, important for building muscle. This easy, no-fuss pre-workout snack is especially handy for grab and go morning exercise. Smoothies with yogurt and fruit are also a good option. Headed out for a morning weight training session? Keep some hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for a convenient protein source.
Steel cut oats with berries
If you have a little more time before your morning workout, try oats and berries. Oats are a perfect start of the day energy source. Berries are chock full of carbs and antioxidants for an extra nutritional boost.
For afternoon or evening exercise…
Never leave home without some. Nuts are an easily transportable source of protein and heart healthy fats. Snack on them before your workout or anytime for vitamin E, fiber and help with cholesterol from plant sterols. Just remember to enjoy nuts in moderation. A handful is all you need to get the benefits without outsized calorie consequences. A few whole grain crackers or rice cakes with a tablespoon of nut butter is another good choice.
Another easy, no-excuses, choice. Reach for a low-sugar, 100 calorie granola bar to fuel up when you’re short on time or just need a convenient option.
Lunch or Dinner
Plan your meals with exercise in mind. Try a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with hummus. You can also have a sweet potato for carbs along with vitamin A, copper, fiber, potassium and vitamins B1 and B2. Get some protein from grilled chicken or even pecans. Enjoy your meal about two hours before your workout.
Why protein and carbs?
Exercise, especially weight training, causes small tears in muscle fiber. Consuming protein helps muscles heal and grow. Carbs count because they provide fuel. Our bodies convert carbs to glucose, which fuels muscles so they perform better during exercise.
Eat normally after exercise. Working out is not a license to overindulge. Again, focus on protein and fats to replenish fuel stores and build metabolism boosting muscle.