Pre- and Post- Workout Snack Ideas
The right snack pre or post workout could help you reach your fitness goals much faster
No matter what, snacks are something that are hard to refuse. Those little packets of crisps, chocolate covered peanuts or a small box of raisins seem to be easy snacks to grab and go but there are better options out there. The best option would be something healthy assembled by yourself at home which is packed with nutrients made with fresh ingredients. However, in this day and age of fast-paced living, pre or post workout snack preparation is something that not all of us have time for.
Well, great news because we have rounded up the best pre and post workout snacks that don’t take a whole lot of time to make at home. No time like the present to get started!
Your body needs fuel when you’re working out in order to build muscle, burn fat and recover from the strain you’ve put on yourself. Depending on your preference, if you prefer to have something before your workout and your sweat session spans longer than an hour, it’s best to have a snack around 45 minutes to an hour before. According to Dr. Daniel Vigil, health sciences associate clinical professor at the University of California (Los Angeles), eating an hour or two before exercising is to prevent reflux, hiccups, nausea and even vomiting. The key to a good pre-workout snack is to keep portions small but packed with protein and nutrients from whole foods.
- Yogurt Parfait
Sounds fancy but it does its job and it takes less than five minutes to throw together. All you need is half cup of yogurt or if you want a punch of protein, opt for Greek yogurt, half cup of granola and a handful of berries for a little sweetness. If berries are not your style, sliced kiwi, mango or any other fresh fruit would do.
- High Protein Oatmeal
Mix ¾ cup rolled oats, two eggs, half a cup of milk (or plant-based milk), one tablespoon ground flaxseed, and one ripe, mashed banana in a pot and stir over medium high heat. When the eggs are no longer runny and oatmeal reaches desired consistency, you’re done and this would take about five minutes. Mix in a teaspoon of cinnamon for a hint of sweetness without adding any sugar.
For those with a blender, protein smoothies are the way to go. The building blocks of a good protein smoothie is blueberries, bananas, yogurt, almond milk (oat and soy for those with nut allergies), ice with your favourite protein powder.
Mix and match with other types of fruit such as strawberries and cherries for their antioxidant and vitamin-rich properties; avocadoes and nuts for a dose of healthy fats and vitamin E for your skin.
After a hard workout, your body needs to replenish the calories lost. Protein is a very important nutrient especially after a workout because it boosts muscle recovery. Additionally, food contains electrolytes that are lost when you sweat. Not eating after working out is a common ‘weight loss’ tip and this is actually hindering you from achieving your fitness goals and possibly causing more harm.
The first thing you need to do post workout is to rehydrate! However, do you know how much you need to drink after working out? To find out, weigh yourself before and after exercise and record both numbers. After the workout, as a rough guide, drink about 500 ml for every 500 grams lost. However, do what feels right to you and gauge your hydration by how your urine looks. Have a snack right after training if you’re unable to have a full meal right away.
Whether you eat this as a sandwich, with a slice of toast or on top of salad, avocadoes are a great source of healthy fats and tuna provides protein along with sodium lost during exercise. All you need is one ripe smashed avocado, one can of flaked light tuna, half cup chopped celery, half cup chopped red onion, half a red apple, quarter cup of chopped nuts, salt and pepper and you’re good to go. This tasty mixture can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days in an airtight container.
Orange Mango Smoothie
For those with a sweet tooth and a blender, this is the perfect post workout snack! Throw one cup of unsweetened almond milk or any other plant milk, one cup vegan protein powder, one cup frozen mango chunks, one peeled and quartered navel orange, and half a frozen banana into your blender and keep it in a thermos to keep it cool during your workout. Optionally, add half a teaspoon of turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Apple Peanut Butter Bites
This requires no assembly whatsoever and only needs you to slice up an apple, add a dollop of your preferred nut butter (peanut, cashew or almond), sprinkle with chia seeds and add raisins for sweetness. The apples and chia seeds provide fibre which is great for healthy bowel movements and the peanut butter adds a healthy dose of protein and fats into our diet. If raisins are a little too sweet, coconut chips are a great alternative.
References: Greatist.com; Self.com; Today.com.