Best Foods to Eat Before and After a Workout, According to a Registered Dietitian: The best foods before and after exercise can boost your results. They give you the energy to power through that jog or fitness class.
Best Foods to Eat Before and After a Workout, According to a Registered Dietitian
There are certain universal questions that experts hear almost every day.
Ready to make the most of your workout?
How can I get the most out of my workouts?
How can I lose weight faster?
Burn the most calories, and feel energized enough to power through every training session?
While there are other elements that may affect your unique situation. There’s one simple answer that applies to all of these questions.
Eat! More specifically, eat the right foods at the right time.
The best foods to eat before and after a workout. So you can fuel up the right way.
Munch on these for your best sweat session yet.
1: Whole Wheat Toast with Sliced Banana and Cinnamon (Before)
When it comes to gearing up for workout, carbs are your gym BFF. The key is to have a mixed bag of complex and simple ones so that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady throughout your routine.
Whole-wheat toast with fruit gives you both types of carbs with the bonus of being super easy to digest. Complex carbs will keep your motor humming, while the fruit adds an extra kick of energy.
For those training for a race, bananas are perfect in raising potassium levels, which drop when you sweat a lot. For an added bonus, add a dash of cinnamon. The spice has been linked to stabilizing blood sugar and improving brain function.
2: Grilled Chicken and Mixed Vegetables (After)
Your body is in recovery mode, so you need a nutrient dense dish. The lean protein and carbohydrates in chicken will fill you up without feeling overly bloated. Add some veggies in olive oil to keep your ticker in tip top shape.
3: Oatmeal With Low-Fat Milk and Fruit (Before)
Do you work out in the morning? Start your day with a bowl of high-fiber oatmeal and fruit. Your body digests the carbs in this combo more slowly. So your blood sugar stays steadier. You’ll feel energized for longer. For an extra dose of protein and bone-building calcium, stir in some low-fat milk.
4: Fruit-and-Yogurt Smoothie (Before)
Smoothies are easy to digest, so you won’t feel sluggish during your workout. But many store-bought versions are high in added sugar. Whip up your own version with protein-rich yogurt and fruit, which packs in energy-boosting carbs.
Blend it with water or ice to help you stay hydrated. Research shows that not getting enough fluids can zap your strength and endurance.
5: Trail Mix (Before)
It’s known as a hiking staple, but trail mix is a good snack for any workout. Raisins give you a quick hit of energy that’s easy on the stomach. Mix a small handful of them with a few almonds, which are high in protein and heart-healthy unsaturated fat. They also have an antioxidant that may help your body use oxygen better and give you better exercise results.
6: Salmon with Sweet Potato (After)
Aside from the usual protein perks, salmon has bioactive peptides, small protein molecules that play a role in inflammation reduction. Helping to regulate insulin levels and give you joint support.
Sweet potatoes pack in those complex carbs as well as help to restore glycogen levels, which get depleted after a workout.
7: Whole Wheat Tuna Fish, Hummus and Spinach Sandwich (After)
If you’re a lunchtime exerciser, this is the sandwich for you. Tuna is low in calories, but high in protein and carbs. Hummus is a better-for-you spread over mayo or mustard, while also being high in fiber.
And last but certainly not least, spinach is a produce powerhouse, handling everything from curbing your appetite to boosting your complexion and lowering blood pressure and inflammation.
8: Apple Wedges with Almond Butter (After)
If it comes down to picking out of the candy dish or an apple for some pre-workout sugar, go for the apple. You’ll avoid a sugar crash mid-lunge while stocking up on vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. To keep your stomach from growling, spread a tablespoon of almond butter on your slices. It squashes hunger and amps energy levels up.
9: Chocolate Milk (After)
Recent research has shown that chocolate milk is the latest craze in post-workout snacks, even over water and sports drinks. That’s because it has everything you need in one glass: carbs and protein for muscle recovery, water content to replace the fluids lost as sweat and calcium, sodium and sugar — all ingredients that help you recover faster, retain water and regain energy. Got milk, anyone?
10: Drink Up (Before, During, and After)
Make sure you have plenty of water. How much? Use the following guidelines:
About 2 to 3 cups (Before exercise)
During exercise: About 1/2 to 1 cup every 15 to 20 minutes
About 2 to 3 cups for every pound you lose during exercise (you can weigh yourself before and after your workout). (After exercise)
11: Foods to Avoid
Steer clear of rich, greasy foods. Fat takes your body longer to digest, which can lead to an upset stomach. For some people, lots of fiber or protein doesn’t mix with exercise. Every body is different, so pay attention to what works for you.
If you’re taking part in a race, such as a 5K, stick with tried-and-true snacks and meals.
12: Low-Fat Latte and an Apple (Before)
If you’re a coffee drinker, sip a latte before that morning or lunchtime fitness class. You’ll get protein from the milk, and the caffeine may ease muscle soreness and rev up calorie burn during exercise. Pair it with an apple for high-quality carbs.
One warning: Caffeine can mess with your sleep, so avoid it in the afternoon. You could swap the latte for a glass of low-fat milk or piece of string cheese.
Fuel Up and Recover Right
These delicious foods will fuel your workout and help you recover faster.