Exercise plays an important role in establishing and maintaining good physical, mental, and emotional health. Most experts and health professionals agree that eating before exercising is necessary. Our bodies need energy to power through workouts to obtain the maximum benefits. Fueling up our blood sugar helps us work harder, giving us the energy and endurance that we need. In addition, we can improve muscle tone and burn more calories by consuming the right foods.
Pre-Workout Food Ideas
Try the following for pre-workout snacks and/or meals:
1. Eat a slice of toast topped with cottage or goat cheese with avocado and tomato slices. You’ll be fueling up with Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein without turning on the oven.
2. Make up a batch of cinnamon-roasted almonds, pecans or walnuts for a convenient pre-workout snack. The cinnamon spice adds a heart-healthy option and a boost of flavor.
3. Blueberries offer a great source of protein and pair up nicely with raw almonds. You might also try yogurt or goat kefir with dried fruit and nuts. Kefir is also rich in probiotics that keep gut flora healthy.
4. While energy bars are popular, read the labels carefully. Look for products that are all natural, such as those made with a date-base with no added sweeteners. A few brands make energy bars with a variety of nuts and spices for great flavor combinations.
Post-Workout Food Options
Your post-workout meal has taken over as the most important meal of the day. You have heard that breakfast holds the top spot, but in reality, your post-workout meal deserves that honor.
Our bodies store glycogen and protein in their muscles. During a workout, we first use up the nutrients we ate pre-workout and then move on to the stored glycogen, burning it as energy. After we’ve stepped off the treadmill, the protein in our muscles begins to drop, and muscle fibers start breaking down. After we workout, our bodies are primed to refuel and replenish by absorbing more carbohydrates and protein during a 30- to 60-minute window.
What should you eat post workout? Focus on protein and carbohydrates, but keep the fat content low. Consider the following ideas:
1. Bake meatballs with bread crumbs or your favorite crackers. Your body will thank you for the protein from grass-fed beef and eggs. Keep the leftovers for a sandwich or salad topping for your next post-workout meal.
2. To boost your intake of healthy fats, protein and leafy greens. Try a heart-healthy salad with citrus fruit, such as oranges and grapefruit, avocado, and salmon topped with sliced almonds.
3. Quinoa provides versatility and complements most other foods well. Try mixing together a tasty Mexican dish in one pan including these inexpensive, healthy ingredients: non-GMO corn, black beans, tomatoes, and avocados.
4. For another simple all-in-one meal, combine sausage, sweet potatoes (which are rich in Vitamin A), and red onion. Roast them together for added flavor.
You’re all set! Hit the grocery store to stock up on the goods. Then get to work and watch as your efforts pay off!
What is your favorite pre-workout or post-workout food?