What to Eat Before a Workout
Some people prefer to exercise on an empty stomach, but others feel better when they eat beforehand.
If you fall in that camp, try these tips for pre-workout nutrition:
- Go for easily digested carbohydrates, which are great for increasing your blood sugar quickly and give you a quick energy boost before exercising. Think bananas, bagels, and toast.
- Limit fat and protein: Though essential as part of your diet, they take longer to digest–leaving you feeling full and potentially uncomfortable. The last thing you want is a bloated stomach when you're trying to run, twist, or do a downward dog.
- Drink two or three cups of fluid about two hours prior to exercise to ensure you are hydrated. Proper hydration is key for optimizing your performance.
If you like to work out in the morning, how’s pizza sound? Try these English Muffin Breakfast Pizzas. You can even prep them ahead of time for the week and freeze them individually for up to three months. If you’re usually craving something sweet in the mornings, this Oatmeal Power Bowl with Peanut Butter Drizzle features high-quality carbs like oats and banana, plus nutrient-packed chia seeds.
If you prefer midday or evening workouts, you might want lunch or dinner first. Grilled Salmon with Soy Glaze is hearty and satisfying, and when served with brown basmati rice, gives you the carbs you need to power through your workout. Short on time? Get a substantial portion of daily protein and fiber from this vegetarian Healthy Choice® Power Bowls® White Bean & Feta Salad.
If you often find yourself without much down time to prep, grab a piece of fruit or make some whole-grain toast before sweating it out. You could try this Mixed Berry Smoothie Bowl, which blends together in minutes. Start with a half portion if you're about to kick off your workout. Or, you could truly grab (heat up) and go with this Healthy Choice Mango Edamame Wrap.
What to Eat After a Workout
Here are some tips for recovery:
- Pair carbs and protein instead of choosing one or the other. Keeping a snack that contains both carbs and protein handy is a good strategy, like our Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars. They’re made with oats and Egg Beaters® Original, and you can even experiment with replacing the brown sugar with banana or some applesauce.
- Drink about two cups of fluid for every pound of weight lost during exercise. That lost weight is mostly water weight that you’re shedding out in sweat. Try weighing yourself before and after exercise to get an idea of how much water you've lost. Replace that to ensure proper hydration.
This Southwest Quinoa Skillet can be prepared the night before; bring it with you to just reheat in the microwave the next day and it’s ready to go. It's a flexible recipe made with a can of Rosarita® Premium Whole Black Beans, RO*TEL® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, and white quinoa, so you can easily add whatever vegetables you'd like. Double or triple it for lunches throughout the week and throw on extra toppings (cheese, anyone?), or put some into a tortilla for a quick burrito.
Sometimes even the easiest recipes feel like too much effort—we totally get it. Try a Spicy Beef Teriyaki or Basil Pesto Chicken Healthy Choice Grain Free Power Bowl, both of which use a riced cauliflower base instead of grain for lower carb counts. Plus, they’re ready to eat in minutes. Better yet, load up your cart with our Grain-Free Carb Swaps bundle to keep several tasty options within reach.
Keep a whole rotation of simple dinner options on hand: Use Egg Beaters Original to make California-Style Omelets–feel free to toss in whatever fresh veggies you have in the fridge for some extra nutritional benefit. Or make a batch of Mediterranean Chicken Pita Pockets, which can be ready in about 30 minutes and are made with a creamy, yogurt-based dill sauce. For another hearty sit-down meal following your workout, we love this Tilapia with Black Beans and Corn, which you can make with Birds Eye® Steamfresh® Organic Super Sweet Corn. It’s ready in about 20 minutes or less and you can double the salsa recipe for a fresh chip dip the next day!
And if all you need is a quick snack (or heck, maybe even a rewarding “dessert”), look no further than our Vegan Carrot Cake Smoothie, made from bananas, carrots, pineapples, and more.