Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pre and Post Workout Snacks

We've always been told the most important meal of the day is breakfast, but for those who manage to squeeze some gym time into their routine, pre- and post-workout foods can be of similar importance. The right snacks can offer a balance of carbs, fats, and protein to satisfy hunger, fuel workouts, and aid in recovery. Although it is true everyone's nutritional requirements are different depending on their goals and activities, these snacks can be very beneficial to the ones who burn more calories daily.

Just to clarify, a pre- workout snack 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. You really don't want to eat too much, just focus on something that isn't greasy and will give you the fuel it needs to gain muscle, burn fat, and recover as best it can.

Here are 10 of my favorite pre-workout snacks:

  1. Protein Creamsicle- Blend 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 1 cup orange juice, and 1 cup ice.
  2. Fruit-sation Shake- Blend 1 scoop vanilla whey protein flavor mix-in, 1/2 cup ice, 1 cup frozen berries for a sweet energy boost.
  3. Dressed-up Oats- Load up on carbs for a longer workout with 1/2 cup cooked steel-cut oats topped with 1 tbsp dried fruit, and 1 tbsp shaved almonds.
  4. Yogurt parfait- Top 1/4 cup non-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup whole grain cereal, and 1/2 cup fresh strawberries.
  5. Yoberries- Perfect blend of carbs and protein. 1 cup non-fat vanilla bean Greek yogurt (often packs more protein and probiotics than regular plain yogurt) with 1/2 cup fresh blueberries.
  6. Eggs n' toast- Craving something heartier? Try 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs with 1 slice of whole-wheat toast.
  7. PB Apple- For a quick carb fuel-up slice 1 medium apple and serve with 2 tbsp all-natural peanut butter.
  8. Energy bars- With so many options in the aisle, try opting for a bar with the most natural ingredients. While protein count is key, also check the sugar content!
  9. PB&B- My favorite pre-workout snack! 1-2 tbsp of all-natural peanut butter and half a sliced banana on whole-wheat toast.
  10. Rice con leche- So good, highly recommended! If you're going to run a long distance try 1/2 cup cooked rice, covered with 1/2 cup milk (or soymilk), a scatter of raisins, topped with a dash of cinnamon.
Always try eating a healthy post-workout snack within two hours after exercise. The following are some great post- workout snacks which are an important way to restore energy, rebuild muscle and tissue:

  1. Chunky peanut butter shake- 1 medium banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter, and 1 cup low-fat chocolate soymilk blended with ice.
  2. Protein bar- Again, 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!
  3. Tuna crackers- Make a batch of light tuna salad for a quick bite, and add two heaping spoonfuls to a handful of whole grain crackers.
  4. Bagel and egg whites- Half a medium-sized whole grain bagel with 2 egg whites makes for a great post-workout sandwich.
  5. Rice cakes- Spread a heap of natural peanut butter over a brown rice cake and top with raisins.
  6. Milk and cereal- Any time is a good time for cereal, as long as your not eating the fruit loops or any of the other high sugars options. Add 1 cup of low-fat milk or soymilk to 1 cup of whole-grain cereal.
  7. Black bean omelet- Four egg whites, 1 oz low-fat cheese, and 1/4 cup canned black beans- then spice it up with your favorite natural ingredient salsa.
  8. Egg McMuffin- Just drop the Mc or any other fast food options, and opt for 1 whole egg, fresh spinach, 1 slice low fat cheese, and 1 slice Canadian bacon served on an English muffin.
  9. Apples and cheese- On the go? Go for a medium sliced apple and 1 stick of low-fat string cheese.
  10. Veggie Egg Scramble- 2-3 whole eggs scrambled with a handful of chopped onion, spinach, and bell peppers.

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