Topping off your “energy tank” right before your workout can improve endurance, mood, and intensity and in the end, improve results. Are you running from school or work to your workout, not sure of whether to grab something in between? Check out our top 5 favorite pre-exercise snacks:
Peanut Butter & Jelly on Whole Wheat Bread: If you haven’t eaten for at least 3-5 hours with a big workout ahead, consider a larger snack as the best choice. One of my favorite and most recommended go-to snacks is a classic PB & J on whole wheat bread. Pack a half or whole sandwich in your bag in the morning and not only will it hold up (no refrigeration needed!) but it will be fueling enough to keep you satisfied and going strong. Don’t tolerate food well before a workout? Choose a smaller portion and opt for white bread for easier digestion.
Trail Mix mixed w/ Whole Grain Cereal: This versatile, on-the-go snack can be stashed in your desk, bag, or car so it’s ready when you are. Choose a unsweetened, unsalted mix and mix a whole grain cereal, like Frosted Mini Wheats or Quaker Oatmeal Squares, to get the most bang for your buck and enough carbohydrates. Also, look for trail mix varieties with healthy nut options, like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios.
Whole Fruit with Nut Butter: This classic snack is perfect for when you just need a little something before your workout. Fruits supply simple sugars to our body that can be quickly digested and available for energy, while the nut butter supplies just enough protein to protect and foster our muscles. Allergic to nuts? Swap for soynut butter, a great option without the nuts. On the run? A piece of whole fruit alone may be just enough to top off your tank.
Granola Bar: Bars are a great snack that you can stash away for when you need them. Options like these are a great way to stay fueled wherever you are without constant planning ahead. Choose a bar with at least 5 grams of fiber and protein combined. Some of our favorites include: KIND Bars, Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars, Kashi Chewy or Crunch Granola Bars, and Fiber One Bars.
Sports Drink: If you’re sensitive to a pre-exercise snack, a simple sports drink, such as Gatorade, a few minutes before you start may be all you need. Just like fruit, it supplies simple sugars that are quickly digested and readily available for the body to use. This beverage may not be ideal as part of the average, everyday diet, but when included before, during, or after a hard workout (>1 hour length or in high heat) it can act as an extra boost of energy. To make this part of a more substantial pre-workout snack, don’t forget to include a source of protein, like almonds or 5-10 grams of protein powder.