Are you looking to get the most out of your workout? Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting a fitness routine, what you eat before and after your workout can significantly impact your performance and recovery. To help you reach your fitness goals, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 best foods to eat before and after your workout.
Bananas are a great pre-workout snack because they’re loaded with easily digestible carbohydrates, which can provide your body with the energy it needs to power through your workout. They’re also a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate fluid balance in the body and can prevent cramping during exercise. Plus, bananas are convenient and easy to eat on the go.
In addition to providing carbs and potassium, bananas are also rich in vitamin B6, which can help boost brain function and improve mood. Research has shown that consuming bananas before exercise can help improve endurance and reduce inflammation in the body. Furthermore, bananas are a low glycemic index food, meaning they won’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, which can lead to a crash later on.
Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that provides sustained energy throughout your workout. It’s also high in fiber, which can help regulate digestion and keep you feeling full. For an added protein boost, top your oatmeal with nuts or seeds, or mix in a scoop of protein powder.
The complex carbs in oatmeal are broken down slowly by the body, providing a steady stream of energy that can fuel your workout without causing a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. In addition to being a good source of carbs, oatmeal is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and zinc. These nutrients are essential for energy production and muscle repair.
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. It’s also high in calcium, which can help maintain bone health. To make your Greek yogurt even more nutritious, add some fresh fruit or granola for added carbs and fiber.
The protein in Greek yogurt is easily absorbed by the body and can help repair and rebuild muscle tissue after a workout. Additionally, Greek yogurt is a good source of probiotics, which can improve gut health and boost the immune system. Choosing plain Greek yogurt over flavored varieties can help reduce your intake of added sugars and artificial ingredients.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of complex carbohydrates, which can provide your body with sustained energy during your workout. They’re also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and iron. Try roasting them for a delicious and nutritious post-workout meal.
The complex carbs in sweet potatoes provide a steady source of energy that can keep you going during your workout without causing a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and improve recovery after exercise. Furthermore, the high fiber content in sweet potatoes can help regulate digestion and keep you feeling full for longer.
Eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein, which can help repair and build muscle tissue after your workout. They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones. Whether you like them scrambled, boiled, or fried, eggs are a versatile and nutritious food that can help fuel your body before and after exercise.
In addition to being a great source of protein, eggs are also rich in other essential nutrients like choline and selenium. Choline is important for brain function and can help improve cognitive performance, while selenium is essential for thyroid function and immune system health. Eggs can also be a convenient and affordable option for a quick and easy pre- or post-workout meal.
Salmon is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and aid in muscle recovery after exercise. It’s also a good source of vitamin D and B vitamins, which are essential for energy production. Try grilling or baking your salmon for a delicious and nutritious post-workout meal.
The protein in salmon is easily absorbed by the body and can help repair and rebuild muscle tissue after exercise. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon can also help reduce inflammation in the body, which is beneficial for muscle recovery and overall health. Additionally, the vitamin D in salmon is essential for strong bones and can help regulate immune function.
Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body after exercise. They’re also high in fiber and vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system. Add some blueberries to your post-workout smoothie or snack on them with some Greek yogurt for a tasty and nutritious treat.
The antioxidants in blueberries can help reduce muscle damage and inflammation caused by exercise. They can also help improve circulation and promote heart health. Additionally, the fiber in blueberries can help regulate digestion and keep you feeling full, while the vitamin C can help support a healthy immune system.
What you eat before and after your workout can have a significant impact on your performance and recovery. By fueling your body with the right foods, you can maximize your workout results and reach your fitness goals. Incorporate these 7 best foods into your pre- and post-workout meals to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need to perform at your best. Remember, a balanced and varied diet is key to overall health and wellness, so be sure to include a variety of nutrient-dense foods in your meals throughout the day.
Here are a few pre-workout recipe ideas that include some of the best foods to eat before exercise:
Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy!
This smoothie includes bananas for easily digestible carbs and potassium, oats for sustained energy, Greek yogurt for protein, and almond milk for added carbs and hydration.
Sweet Potato and Egg Breakfast Bowl
- 1 small sweet potato, diced
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 avocado, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Toss diced sweet potato in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Spread sweet potato on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, until tender and slightly crispy.
- In a skillet, cook eggs to your desired doneness.
- Serve sweet potato and eggs in a bowl, topped with sliced avocado.
This breakfast bowl includes sweet potatoes for complex carbs and fiber, eggs for protein, and avocado for healthy fats. It’s a balanced and filling meal that will provide sustained energy throughout your workout.
Greek Yogurt and Berry Parfait
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup mixed berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
- 1/4 cup granola
- In a bowl or glass, layer Greek yogurt, mixed berries, and granola.
- Repeat layers until all ingredients are used up.
- Serve and enjoy!
This parfait includes Greek yogurt for protein, mixed berries for antioxidants and carbs, and granola for added carbs and crunch. It’s a quick and easy pre-workout snack that you can make ahead of time and take with you on the go.
Post workout snacks
Here are some post-workout snack ideas that include some of the best foods to eat after exercise:
- 1 cup low-fat or skim milk
- 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
- In a glass, mix together milk and chocolate syrup until well combined.
- Serve and enjoy!
Chocolate milk is a great post-workout snack because it provides a balance of carbs and protein to help replenish glycogen stores and aid in muscle recovery. Plus, it’s delicious and easy to make.
Hummus and Veggies
- 1/4 cup hummus
- Assorted veggies (such as carrots, cucumber, and bell pepper)
- Wash and slice veggies into sticks.
- Serve with hummus for dipping.
Hummus and veggies is a healthy and nutritious post-workout snack that provides protein and carbs for muscle recovery, as well as fiber and vitamins from the veggies. It’s also a great way to get in some extra hydration after a sweaty workout.
Cottage Cheese and Fruit
- 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
- Assorted fruit (such as berries, pineapple, and mango)
- Wash and chop fruit into bite-sized pieces.
- Serve with cottage cheese on the side.
Cottage cheese is a good source of protein, while fruit provides carbs, vitamins, and antioxidants. This snack is quick and easy to prepare and can be customized to your taste preferences.
Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups
- 2-3 slices deli turkey
- 1 slice cheese (such as cheddar or Swiss)
- 1 small whole wheat tortilla
- Lay tortilla flat on a plate or cutting board.
- Layer turkey and cheese on top of tortilla.
- Roll up tightly and slice into bite-sized pieces.
This snack provides a balance of protein and carbs, and the whole wheat tortilla adds fiber to help regulate digestion. It’s also a great portable snack to take with you on the go.
Remember, it’s important to refuel your body with nutrient-dense foods after exercise to help aid in recovery and promote muscle growth. Incorporate these post-workout snack ideas into your routine to help support your fitness goals.