Recently, I’ve had a few clients who have a plant based diet and they have asked me for ideas of what to eat before and after their workouts. Many people get confused on what to eat, so I wanted to share some of my favorite options that are perfect not just for someone who has a plant based diet, but anyone.
What to Eat Before Your Workout: The key is to remember that quality of your workout will depend on how fueled it is before the workout. Your body has to pull energy from somewhere and it’s much easier to pull it from calories that are consumed within an hour of your workout, then pulling stored energy that your body uses for other daily functions. Focus on eating more carbs based foods 30 – 60 minutes before your workout.
- Oatmeal or Overnight Oats: This is one of my favorites, mainly because I workout in the morning and this “breakfast” food just makes sense to me. Plus, it’s whole and takes a while to digest, so it can help to keep you fueled, especially if you are working out for longer than 45 minutes.
- 100% Whole Grain or Sprouted Grain Toast with Pure Honey or Real Fruit Spread: This is one of my dad’s go to pre workout snacks and he swears by it for his long cardio sessions. The key is to make sure that you choose 100% Whole Grain or Sprouted Grains, which helps with the slow digestion of the carbs coupled with the fast digesting carbs with the honey or fruit spread.
- Apple or Banana with a Tbsp of Nut Butter: This is an easy pre workout snack that doesn’t feel as heavy as the oatmeal or the toast. This is my favorite for a HIIT or Circuit Training Strength workout.
- Kind Bars: I am not a big fan of bars, but I do like Kind Bars because I can recognize all of the ingredients in them, they are easy to take with me on the way to the gym, and they taste like a candy bar. 🙂
- Fruit Juice or Smoothies: This is typically my last resort, as most fruit juices and smoothies are packed with sugar and don’t give you a lot of substance and I feel really full, but when I’m in a real crunch, I will grab a bottle of 100% Orange Juice or grab a Smoothie and drink half.
What to eat after your workout: The key here is to make sure that you have a mix of protein and carbs. I know that this sounds crazy, but after a workout, while your muscles are going into repair mode (where protein is key), your body is still burning calories and can burn them with carbs that you use to replenish your body after the workout. I highly recommend that you consume your post workout meal or snack within 30 minutes of your workout.
- Meal Replacement Shake: As you know, I’m a big fan of Shakeology and this is my all time go to post workout Shake, because it’s more than just protein, it’s a true meal which includes not only carbs, but also minerals, vitamins, adaptogens (which also help with the post workout recovery), super greens (to help reduce the acidic ph levels, which also help with reduction of inflammation), and so much more.
- Chocolate Milk – This can be Soy Milk or Dairy Milk, both options are a great mix of protein and carbs and easy to digest and great when you are in a pinch.
- Hummus with Veggies and Whole Grain Pita: This is a great snack, especially if you want something more savory.
- Green Salad with Lean Protein & Veggies: Your protein options can be tofu, edamame, hard boiled eggs, tempeh, nuts, seeds, or beans. Aim to use a vinegar based dressing.
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich or a Hummus & Veggie Sandwich: This is the perfect balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Many people think sandwiches are not healthy, it’s a matter of the bread you choice, the condiments/fillings that you use. Here’s my tips on how to make a Healthier PB&J
Hopefully, this will give you some ideas of what to eat before and after your workouts!