Nutrition and exercise are tightly intertwined. When and what you eat can make a huge difference to the quality of your workouts. Food influences the way you feel when you exercise and the results of your training.
When developing a gym diet, you should consider not only main meals but also snacks. Most students prefer to grab a bite before and after exercise, or even during, so you have to know what workout snacks are the most beneficial for you.
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Here are 16 delicious and healthy workout snack ideas that will support your performance and fitness goals.
To feel your best during the workout, you need to make sure you’ve got the “right fuel.” Pre-workout snacks should have a good carbs-protein balance. Protein increases muscle growth, enhances anabolism, and stimulates muscle recovery. Carbs replenish your muscles’ glycogen stores.
What about the timing? To have your snacks give you a boost of energy for the workout, eat 2–3 hours before you exercise. If you eat them within an hour, they won’t improve your performance. However, if you have no other option, go for simple and small snacks.
Find some of the best snack options to eat before your exercise below.
- Oats and Protein Powder
If you add some protein powder to your oats, you’ll get an amazing mix of slow-digesting carbohydrates and protein for muscle growth. With your favorite berries, it will be even more healthy and vitamin-rich.
- Protein Bar
Having sufficient protein intake is crucial. So every student who is into sports should have a protein bar in case they want a quick snack before working out.
- Fruit Smoothie
Extremely healthy and delicious, fruit smoothies are students’ favorite snacks. They are rich in nutrients and vitamins and give you a fast boost of energy since they are also a great source of glucose. For more protein, add some peanut butter or protein powder to your smoothie.
- Sliced Apple with Peanut Butter
This sweet and delicious snack is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, chlorogenic acid, and quercetin found in apples. Peanut butter adds the necessary protein for the best effect.
- Sweet Potato Whole Grain Toast
Physically active students will appreciate this nutrient-rich snack. Eat it about three hours before the gym to enjoy the slow-releasing energy that will keep you active for a long time.
If you need a quick snack to have 30–60 minutes before your workout, bananas are a great option. They provide you with healthy carbs and potassium.
- Egg and Avocado Toast
This is a healthy snack that never fails. Avocado is here as a source of Vitamins C and E, folate, pantothenic acid, and magnesium, to name but a few. Hard-boiled eggs keep the protein balance in check.
- Berry and Granola Yogurt
Try an energy-boosting mix of Greek yogurt, granola, and berries like strawberry and blueberry. It won’t take you more than 5 minutes to cook and grab with you to the gym.
Typically, if your workout lasts about an hour or less, you don’t need snacks. However, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated. Take a sip of water as frequently as possible.
If you are a student-athlete and your workouts take several hours, you might need to take some snacks with you. According to the American Heart Association, the best option is to go for carbohydrates. Low-carb diets might have created a myth that carbs are bad for you. But this is not true. They are the main source of energy for your body, especially when you exercise.
Yet, make sure you choose complex carbs, not sweets and processed foods with simple carbs. Here are some healthy carb foods for your workout :
- Sweet potatoes
After intense workouts, you will most likely feel hungry and need to replenish your energy. It’s ok if you feel too tired to do anything else.
Try to reschedule and do important assignments later when you feel more productive. Yet, if you have urgent tasks, for example, paper writing, check out essay writing reviews to find a homework helper. This will give you time to relax and refuel your energy levels, for example, with snacks.
Eat your post-workout snack asap. It would be best if you do it within 45 minutes after your training session is complete. This is necessary for better glycogen synthesis.
What exactly you grab to eat matters. These are some of the best post-exercise snack ideas that help your muscles recover.
- Sliced Vegetables with Hummus
There’s nothing better for a post-workout snack than protein and fiber combined. A snack like this one will enhance recovery and increase muscle protein synthesis.
- Protein Shake
This quick snack is what you need after an intense workout. Yet, make sure you find a product without unhealthy sugars and fillers.
- Cherry Juice
Another grab-and-go snack is tart cherry juice, which is rich in antioxidants. It will help you relieve sore muscles after working out.
- Drinks with Turmeric
Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory agent. It will help you recover after intense physical activity that fills your body with lactic acid. Add turmeric to juices, smoothies, or other drinks and foods to enjoy its amazing effects on your body.
Dates are a wonderful option to satisfy your cravings after a workout. They are very nutritious and high in fiber and antioxidants like аlavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acid.
- Banana and Peanut Butter
These two products work well both pre- and post-exercise. You can eat banana slices with a little peanut butter or add them to your smoothie or protein shake.
- Tuna Sandwich
Whole wheat bread with tuna and some olive oil is one of the best post-workout snacks. It will help you decrease protein breakdown and lead to muscle growth.
- Chocolate Milk
Organic and low-fat chocolate milk is a rich source of calcium and potassium. Besides, it is high in carbs and protein, which makes it ideal as your post-workout snack. Choose chocolate milk that is free from artificial sugars and other sweeteners, and get a lactose-free option if you are allergic to dairy.
To Sum Up
Finding the right snacks to eat before, during, and after a workout takes some research, but it is worth it. A healthy diet will keep you full of energy at all times and maximize the results of your training. Besides, all the workout snacks on our list are simply delicious! So there’s no reason not to enhance your hard work at the gym with these tasty foods. Enjoy!