10 Best Snacks to Fuel Your Workout

10 Best Snacks to Fuel Your Workout

These smart picks will help you feel satiated and powered up for your workout.


By: Maressa Brown

Whether you work out in the morning or afternoon, it’s hard to tackle a fitness routine while hungry or low on energy. If you eat the right snack 30-60 minutes before a workout, you’ll optimize your ability to gain muscle, burn fat, and recover better. But finding pre-workout foods that are filling but light enough to not to weigh you down can be a bit of a challenge. Here are 10 smart bets.

1. Peanut butter and apple slices: The protein in peanut butter and the fiber and carbs in an apple come together to keep you feeling satisfied. Go for 1 medium apple and 1-2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter.

2. An egg and whole grain crackers: The protein in the egg (hard-boiled is best for on the go!) and the complex carbs in whole grain crackers make a smart, satiating combo.

3. Cottage cheese with fruit: If dairy doesn’t upset your stomach, you can do a half-cup of protein-rich cottage cheese with a half-cup of fresh, low-glycemic fruit, like berries.

4. Greek yogurt with trail mix: Mixing low-fat, high-protein Greek yogurt with trail mix predominantly made up of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit can power up your workout for a couple reasons. The sugars from the dried fruits increase your energy while the protein and fat in the seeds and nuts keep insulin levels stable.

5. Oatmeal and almond butter: The complex carbs in oatmeal release more slowly into the bloodstream than simple carbs, helping keep your energy on an even level as you exercise. And almond butter is a superb source of magnesium, which is integral to muscle contraction and relaxation.

6. Fruit and nut bar: Not all snack bars are made equal, but the ones that are made up of real nuts and fruit are a great bet for a pre-workout pick, thanks to their carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and good fats that keep your oomph up and stomach full. Shoot for a bar that is about 200 calories and at least 4-5 grams each of fiber and protein.

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7. Smoothie: Consider mixing yourself a smoothie with fruit, 6 ounces of plain yogurt, and 4 ounces of milk or almond milk. The fruit will supply carbs for energy while the yogurt will offer a nice boost of muscle-supportive calcium.

8. A handful of pistachios and raisins: This two-ingredient combo is powerful because pistachios are rich in potassium, an electrolyte that can help with muscle cramps, while raisins are a natural source of carbohydrates for a quick energy jolt. In fact, a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise pointed to the carbs in raisins as the reason they’re an ideal substitute for sugary sports candies and gels. Snacking on them even increased performance for runners!

9. A banana and a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter: If you’re really in a time crunch, this portable snack is perfect. The banana offers complex carbs and potassium, while any nut butter -- cashew, almond, peanut, etc. -- adds protein and healthy fat to the mix.

10. Sprouted grain bread and cheese: Sprouted grain bread not only generally provides you with more fiber and protein than your average bread, but it’s also antioxidant-packed. Pair it with an ounce of cheese for even more protein and fat, which will keep you firing on all cylinders through your workout.

What is your go-to pre-workout snack?



Maressa Brown is a senior staff writer for The Stir. She loves writing about and reading up on health/fitness, relationships, and pop culture -- preferably on a beach somewhere.

Image ©iStock.com/vaphotog

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