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In order to stay energized throughout the day and give myself the right fuel for a workout, I always make sure I eat healthy snacks. Snacking can easily make or break your results, especially if you are one to go for sugar-filled, empty-calorie snacks. I get asked all the time what the perfect pre- and post-workout snacks are for the body. Eating the right food at the right time both before and after your workout can definitely help the body with energy levels, hydration, endurance and recovery. To take some of the guess-work out, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite protein-filled snack ideas that provide the body with key nutrients to help you workout stronger and recover quickly.
Before your workout:
Before you exercise, you want to have a snack that will provide your body with good carbohydrates so you have sustained energy to last throughout your workout. It’s good to eat around 60 minutes prior to working out so have had time to digest.
Nut butter and banana
This is one of my favorite snacks that can kill a sweet-tooth craving. Banana is a good source of energy, with some good fat and protein from the nuts. I like to go for an all-natural almond butter that doesn’t contain any added vegetable oil, salt or sugar. If you have a good blender or food processor, it’s super easy to even make your own nut or seed butter. You can make it raw or roasted. Keep nut butter at about 1 tablespoon per serving.
Hummus and vegetable sticks
Hummus is a great source of carbs, as well as protein from the chickpeas and tahini. Paired with veggies, it is great combo to have before a workout. I like to have mine with cucumber, carrots and peppers. You can also flavor the hummus with things like roasted sweet potato or pumpkin, which makes it super tasty. I posted my favorite hummus recipe recently on my blog here.
Chocolate protein balls
I have a few different protein ball recipes that I love to make up in big batches for the week. My favorite though is this chocolate one. The ingredients are protein powder, nuts, pumpkin and dates. The carbohydrates from the dates and pumpkin make them a great pre-workout snack to give you that energy boost, while you have protein from the protein powder and nuts.
After your workout, it’s still good to have a snack with carbohydrates to replenish your energy stores. However you also want to make sure it has good protein levels. That’s because protein is what helps our muscles repair themselves after a workout. Here are some of my high-protein snacks that I love to eat post-workout.
Protein shake and almonds
If I haven’t had time to cook, then a protein shake with almonds is a go-to post-workout snack. All you need is a protein shaker, a scoop of protein powder and a handful of nuts. In terms of protein powder, I personally like an organic non-dairy brown rice protein, as this is the only thing that doesn’t cause me to bloat or upset my tummy. So many protein shakes can be filled with all sorts of additives that aren’t good for you, so always read the ingredient list. You can mix the protein powder with water, or if you need some extra hydration I like to sometimes mix mine with coconut water. Coconut water is great for replacing your electrolytes that you’ve lost through excessive sweating during your workout.
Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen berries
Full-fat Greek yogurt is a power house of protein, which is exactly what your body needs post-workout. The casein and whey protein in Greek yogurt means you are getting both fast and slow digesting proteins. I always say go full-fat and unsweetened when it comes to yogurt, that way nothing nasty has been added. If you like your yogurt sweetened, add a little natural stevia. Berries are great for adding in the anti-oxidant kick. If you need some more carbs, have it with a banana.
Egg frittata muffins
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and are low in calories, which is why I love them for a post-workout protein snack. A good way to have pre-prepared snacks on hand is make up a batch of egg frittata muffins at the beginning of the week. Just chop up your favorite vegetables, add eggs and then bake in muffin tins in the oven. They store in the fridge well and make for great snacks or breakfast on the run.
Remember how you fuel your body both before and after exercise can make a major difference to your performance and results.
For more nutrition tips, visit emilyskye.com.