What to Eat Before and After a Workout
Happy New Year! I hope you are ready to dive into 2017 with positive energy and focus. I restarted the Monday Morsel and this is the first one of the year.
Since there’s a good chance you are getting back to a workout routine or starting a new one, I want to answer a question I get often. What should I eat before and after a workout?
Whether you’re wondering what to eat because you get hungry or don’t want to sabotage your efforts with the wrong foods, it’s a good question. Getting the right nutrient combination is important to fuel a workout and to replenish your body for optimal muscle tone and more.
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What you should eat depends on your body and the activity you choose. The key is to get the fuel you need when you need it. Here’s a quick guide to help you get started:
Low-Intensity Morning Workouts (walking, biking, or yoga):
Focus on carbs to fuel your workout.
Before: Drink at least 2 cups of water before your workout. Eat a carbohydrate-rich snack like a small banana or piece of toast if you’re hungry.
After: Eat a breakfast of good carbs and protein. Try a bowl of oatmeal with berries and nut butter, avocado toast with pumpkin seeds or an egg with whole grain toast and vegetables. If you’re on the go, you might grab a few of my 3 Ingredient Breakfast Cookies.
Midday/Evening Workouts (running, high-intensity classes, etc.):
3-4 hours before: Eat a meal with mixed protein, carbs, and fat. Think soup and sandwich, vegetarian chili or a grilled chicken salad with whole grain bread or fruit.
30 minutes before: If you’re hungry or have low energy, eat a handful of grapes or trail mix or a small banana. Drink water throughout the day to be well hydrated for your workout.
After: Eat a meal within 2 hours. If you can’t eat a meal for a while OR if you’ve had a particularly intense workout, recover with a protein and carbohydrate snack. Try these:
- Chocolate or vanilla protein shake (keep it small)
- 5 ounces Greek yogurt with fruit
- Cheese cubes with whole grain crackers
Water works in most cases. If you exercise more than an hour at a high intensity or in hot weather, consider a sports drink or coconut water to replace electrolytes lost through sweating.
Consider this: The average person burns about 100 calories for every mile walked while the average protein bar packs over 200 calories and smoothies spill over 300 calories. Though it’s not all about calories, it’s important to recognize that exercise is not a license to eat. Balance is key. If you’re only walking the dog, nice job moving but you probably don’t need a snack. I’m just saying.
GET STARTED: Take a moment to think through your week and schedule your exercise. Add your snack and meal ingredients to your grocery list. Now you’re ready to power through your workouts all week.
I love these links for quick and creative snack and meal ideas:
50 Awesome Pre- and Post- Workout Snacks from Greatist
Vegan Post Workout Meals from Greatist
Pre-Workout Snack Ideas from PopSugar
That’s it! I hope this little guide helps you power throughout your workout with ease. Remember, these are general recommendations. Work with a sports dietitian for your specific needs.
The goal of the Monday Morsel is to give you a little something to boost your health, one bite at a time. You’ll get timely tips, recipes, and motivation to reach your health and wellness goals. Get the Monday Morsel delivered straight your inbox every Monday.