If you have read my article about pre & post workout nutrition, but are still a little confused about the best foods to eat before or after your workout, see below. I have provided a few examples of snacks and meals you can try out. Remember there are many other choices so you do not have to stick to these examples only, but this should be enough to get you started
Email me at Michelle@CORE-Condition if you have a favorite pre or post workout meal or snack idea that I don’t have on the list already!
If you workout later in the day, eating some quinoa at lunch can provide you with carbs and protein for energy and muscle repair. It’s a fantastic energy food. Eat this superfood a few hours before you workout.
If you will be participating in a sustained workout, eating an avocado a few hours beforehand can provide valuable healthy fat for that energetic boost when carbohydrate depletion occurs.
Eating nuts and seeds at dinner can give you energy for evening workouts because they cover all of your macronutrient bases, containing carbs, protein, and fat. Eating a few nuts and seeds during sustained exercise can also provide a boost of energy to keep you going during endurance activities.
Banana is one of the most perfect pre and post workout foods as they are full of complex carbs, minerals such as potassium and fibre. Our close genetic relatives, chimps, eat bananas in bunches and thrive.
Eating about ½ cup of this hearty grain an hour or two before exercise will provide you with carbohydrate energy necessary for quick, intense workout sessions.
PRE-WORKOUT MEAL IDEAS:
The body works to build muscle and recover 24 hours a day, not just during that one-hour session at the gym. Luckily, smartly timed snacks can give the body the fuel it needs to gain muscle, burn fat, and recover as best it can. Pre-workout, that usually means grabbing a snack about 30-60 minutes in advance, depending on its size and contents, and how much that stomach’s actually grumbling. The focus for pre-workout should be around getting a balance of carbs, good fats, and protein. Check out these options to start things right.
Dressed up oats: Load up on carbohydrates for a longer workout with ½ cup cooked steel-cut oats topped with 1 tablespoon dried fruit and 1 tablespoon shaved almonds.
Perfect yogurt parfait: Feeling fancy, huh? Top ¼ cup nonfat yogurt with ½ cup whole grain cereal/oats and ½ cup fresh strawberries
Greek Yogurt & Berries: For the perfect blend of carbs and protein, try 1 cup non-fat vanilla bean Greek yogurt — which often packs more protein and probiotics than regular plain yogurt — with ½ cup fresh blueberries.
Eggs n’ toast: Have a heartier appetite? Try 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs with 1 slice of whole-wheat toast.
Fruit and Cottage Cheese: Top ½ cup cottage cheese — a low calorie and higher protein option — with ½ cup fresh pineapple, berries, or melon. And voila!
PB Apple: For a quick carb fuel-up, slice 1 medium apple and serve with 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter or almond butter.
Oats n’ eggs: Not just for breakfast, try ½ cup cooked oatmeal and 2 whole eggs seasoned with salt and pepper.
PB & B toast: Fuel up with 1-2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter and half a sliced banana on whole-wheat toast,
Protein, Avo & Pasta: Add 2-4 ounces (or a palm-sized amount) of roasted turkey/grilled chicken breast/tuna/salmon and 3-4 avocado slices to ½ cup cooked whole-wheat pasta
Veggie omelet: Add a little more color to your diet by combining 2 whole eggs shaken with 1 teaspoon of water cooked with 1 cup sautéed seasonal veggies-optional 1 piece of whole grain toast on side (for longer workouts).
Salad: Need some greens? Try 1 cup of salad greens with assorted veggies, 1-2 hard boiled eggs, ½ avocado or 1 tbsp of chia seeds, and a drizzle of your favorite low-fat dressing.
Protein bar: For a quick, store-bought fix, feed those muscles with a protein bar. Just watch the sugar content. Look for bars with 10-30 grams of protein, less than 10 grams of sugar, and the fewest number of ingredients you can’t pronounce! I prefer to get nutrients from real food, but having protein bars on hand are a good last alternative and also help avoiding unnecessary fast food stops.
POST-WORKOUT MEAL IDEAS:
After a tough gym session, post-workout snacks are a very important way to restore energy and rebuild muscle. Downed within 30 to 60 minutes after exercise, protein-packed shakes and snacks are a great way to rebuild tissue that breaks down during exercise and keep that metabolism revved up to burn more fat! The focus for post-workout meals should be protein and carbs.
Protein pancakes: mix 4 egg whites, ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup low fat cottage cheese, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Cook on preheated griddle (medium low heat) until it bubbles, then flip and cook another 30-60 seconds. Top with fresh berries or sliced banana. (I have many more recipes for protein pancakes, ask me if you want more)
Chocolate PB Protein shake: Monkey around with ½ or 1 medium banana, 1 tablespoon peanut flour or PB2 (peanut butter flavour without the extra fat), and 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, blended with ice. If you use a frozen banana no ice is needed. Optional also to add a handful of spinach to get your greens in (no you can’t taste it!) or 1 tbsp of cinnamon to help with inflammation.
Bananas & Milk: One medium sliced banana with 1 cup low fat milk — it doesn’t get any easier than this!
Protein bar: For a quick, store-bought fix, feed those muscles with a protein bar. Just watch the sugar content. Look for bars with 10-30 grams of protein, less than 10 grams of sugar, and the fewest number of ingredients you can’t pronounce! I really like Quest Bars and they are one of the only processed bars I will eat because they contain no artificial ingredients—ask me about them J
Meat and squash: Need something hearty? Try a handful of lean roast beef, chicken or other lean protein with an equal portion of butternut squash.
Tuna crackers: Mix up a batch of light tuna salad for a quick bite. Add two heaping spoonfuls to a handful of whole grain crackers, and chomp away. My tuna salad options are mixing tuna with a little bit of non-fat greek yogurt, 1 slice of laughing cow cheese and a little bit of yellow mustard, or ½ an avocado & a little bit of yellow mustard (my fave!).
PB & Rice: The ants go marching… Spread a heap of natural peanut butter over a brown rice cake and top with raisins or ½ a sliced banana.
Chocolate milk: One to two cups of low-fat chocolate milk seals the deal with extra carbs and protein.
Black bean omelet: Four eggs whites, 1 ounce low-fat cheese, and ¼ cup canned black beans — then spice it up with a savory salsa, if you dare.
Green Monster smoothie: Blend 4 cups spinach, ½ cup vanilla bean yogurt or plain non-fat greek yogurt, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 banana, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter with ice.
Cottage cheese crunch: half a cup to one cup fat-free cottage cheese, 1 teaspoon honey or agave, ½ cup whole-grain cereal or oats, and a dash of cinnamon.
Egg muffinwich: Ditch the fast-food and opt for 1 whole egg, fresh spinach, 1 slice low fat cheese, and 1 slice Canadian bacon served on an whole wheat English muffin.
Apples and cheese: 1 medium sliced apple and 1 stick of low-fat string cheese.
Pita and hummus: One 7-inch pita with two spoonfuls of hummus.
Egg scramble: 2-3 whole eggs or 1 whole egg & 2 egg whites, scrambled with a handful of chopped onion, spinach, and bell peppers.
AB & J Rice Cakes: Almond butter takes the cake. For this healthier twist on the classic PB & J, sandwich 1 tablespoon of almond butter and 1 teaspoon of strawberry jam between two rice cakes.
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