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Snacking 101: Healthy Choices Pre And Post Workout



Snacking 101: Healthy Choices Pre And Post Workout

Snacking is perhaps one of the trickiest things to get right when you’re thinking carefully about your diet. We might start the day right with a protein fuelled, filling breakfast, then get a healthy, balanced lunch and dinner spot on, but when it comes to snacks, we might make poor decisions. 

This might be because we’re in a hurry, grabbing something between meetings, or because we simply don’t know what’s best. On the days when we’re working out, it becomes even trickier if we find ourselves even hungrier between meals.

So, here’s our guide to healthy snack choices, both before and after you work out.

Healthy pre workout snacks

What you eat before a workout is going to fuel your body and help you get the most from exercise. Exercising without the right fuel can mean that you don’t work as hard as you want to and can make you feel weak or dizzy and could even mean that you suffer an accident if you’re not concentrating properly.

That said, it’s not a good idea to eat a full meal immediately before exercising, as you’ll still be digesting your food and you could end up feeling nauseous, putting an end to your workout.

If you can, have a snack about an hour before you plan to exercise. The best snacks to eat are those that contain both protein and carbohydrate. Protein helps to fuel our muscles, effectively keeping us going for longer, and carbs provide energy in the form of glucose (glucose is produced when we break down carbohydrates during digestion and is the body’s preferred source of fuel). Remember, fruit counts as carbs!

Ideal pre workout snacks include:

However, it’s worth noting that if you’re an early riser and love working out in the morning, you don’t have to get up earlier to eat beforehand. It’s okay to work out without having anything to eat if you prefer.

Healthy post workout snacks

For many of us, eating directly after working out is the last thing on our minds, as we feel nauseous at the thought of anything other than water. (Don’t forget to drink water after exercise to replace fluids lost through sweat.) 

However, eating an hour or so after exercise is important for proper recovery so that we’re able to continue to exercise as we work towards owning our goals. When we work out, our muscles use up their stores of glycogen (the muscles store a limited amount of glucose from the carbs we eat in the form of glycogen which they use as an energy source. When these stores are depleted, our muscles feel tired and we stop working out).

Complex carbs, such as brown rice and quinoa (which is also loaded with complete protein) are best, as they release their energy more slowly and sustainably. The muscles require protein in order to repair and grow too. 

We also need to replace some of the calories we’ve burned, so that we feel energised, and so that we regulate our blood sugar levels that can drop after exercise, making us feel dizzy.

So, our post workout snacks also need to contain carbohydrate and protein – carbs to help replenish glycogen stores, and protein to help increase our lean muscle mass.

Here’s some excellent post workout snack ideas: 

  • Brown pitta stuffed with hummus and salad
  • A protein packed smoothie made with hemp powder and soya milk
  • A banana dipped in peanut butter
  • A small veggie omelette (which is an ideal light dinner too if you’re working out in the evening)
  • Roasted sweet potato and hummus – try this beetroot version to mix things up
  • Cottage cheese and oat cakes

Remember, snacks aren’t inherently bad. Make healthy snack choices and you can up your workout game and own your goals even sooner!

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