Nourish - Plant Based & Healthy Pre-Workout Snack Tips
Today’s blog post is all about Plant Based & Healthy Pre-Workout Snack Tips. Pre-workout snacks are great for giving you the energy you need for an effective workout. Indeed, feeding your body before and after every workout is essential for:
- burning the most calorie
- staying energized
- building lean muscle
- losing weight
- speeding up recovery
You’ve got to have the energy to ensure an effective workout, so fuelling your body with the right food before your workout is key. This way you’ll not only have an abundance of energy and stamina, but you’ll also help prevent low blood sugar. This often leads to light-headedness and fatigue during your workout.
To help prevent the feeling of low-energy and famishment, opt for a mix of carbohydrates and a little bit of protein to give you the energy to power on through that spin class!
Here are my top pre-workout snack do’s and don’ts to help you get the most out of your workout:
Bananas are loaded with easily digested and energising carbohydrates. Plus they are packed with potassium which helps maintain nerve and muscle function.
Fuelling up on carbs before a workout means you’re less likely to wane halfway through your workout, or you feel insanely tired afterwards.
If you’re in a rush eat a medium banana 30mins – 1hr before your workout. This will provide you with a good spurt of energy before your workout. Furthermore, it will help prevent muscle cramps and replenish the potassium that you lose when you sweat.
If you have more time, opt for a banana filled smoothie. Combine 1 banana with half a cup of spinach, half a cup of almond milk and a scoop of a plant-based protein powder.
Alternatively try a combo of banana, mango or pineapple with kale or spinach. Then add hemp hearts with either green tea, almond milk or water for a good pre-workout fuel.
Other options include:
- slice a banana in half and spread it with 2 tablespoons of almond butter*
- add banana coins to your morning porridge
- make banana pancakes
- eat rye, wholemeal or sprouted bread with tahini/almond butter/peanut butter* topped with banana coins
- or how about banana sushi?
If bananas are not up your ally, snacking on fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, nectarines or berries is totally fine too 🙂
Unsweetened dried fruit can be an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates. And when paired with a handful of nuts, they are a perfect pre-workout snack for anyone who’s on the go or has limited time.
*Just remember that nut butters will take longer to digest so make sure to have these snacks a good couple of hours before exercising to avoid reflux or indigestion
Oats are full of slow-releasing carbohydrates. This means a nice steady stream of carbs are released into your bloodstream over time, allowing for consistent energy levels throughout your workout.
Oats also contain B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy, so you’ll be raring to go afterwards!
Of course, porridge is often the first thing we connect with oats, and it is certainly one of my all-time favourite ways to consume them. Try combining:
- rolled oats
- almond/rice/oat/hemp milk
- a dash of your chosen sweetener (maple syrup, honey/coconut sugar)
- fruit such as banana, apple, blueberries, dried apricots or raisins.
Other options include:
- Fruit and Seed Oat Squares
- Banana Oat Bites
- Summer Oat Crumble Squares
- Overnight Oats and Chia
- energy balls
- energy bars
Not a fan of oats?
Try amaranth porridge instead.
Combine amaranth with almond milk and top it off with a sprinkle of hemp seeds or a handful of nuts and fresh berries. This carb and protein combo will provide longer, sustained energy to get you through your workout.
Consume a minimum of 30 minutes before you begin exercising, though preferably 2-3 hours
The carbohydrates found in fruits (and less fibrous veg) can be directly turned into glucose. This is the form of energy your cells need to help you thrive and power on through that workout. Don’t skip on the fruit and other high carb foods. These are your fuel!
Fruit smoothies are easy to consume and are rapidly digested. This makes them the perfect pre-workout fuel to ensure you’re topped up with a tonne of carbs, protein, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.
I’m a big fan of smoothie bowls, especially before my yoga classes as they keep me fuelled, hydrated and energised to the max! I eat them a minimum of 2 hours before class so it’s all digested and doesn’t slosh around during class.
Try these recipes from our Beat the Breakfast Blues post.
IMake this chia pudding the night before and enjoy it either as a full-on delicious breakfast, or whip it out as a pre-workout snack. That way you’ll be filled with carbs, protein and omega-3’s.
Check out this Chia pudding recipe or a totally satisfying pre-workout snack. Feel free to add in some fruit for a quick burst of energy, a handful of nuts for added protein. Additionally, mix in some matcha powder or cacao powder for a change.
Protein/Energy Balls and Bars
These are very handy to have at all times of the day! Pre-workout, post workout or as a day-to-day snack. We have a whole bunch of recipes in our recipe archive so check them out here:
If you’re really in a rush and have no time to whip something up in the kitchen, you can always opt for an energy or protein bar like:
They’ll give you a good burst of energy that will sustain you through your workout. Then you can fuel yourself up on some delicious post-workout foods to support your recovery.
It’s not exactly a snack, but it’s still very important!
Don’t forget to fill up your water bottle before you hit the gym or take that class so you stay hydrated throughout your workout. It’s never a good idea to start a workout with a water deficit. Make sure to stay well hydrated before, during, and after exercise. Water and Coconut water are excellent options.
Pre-Workout Snacks to Avoid
Here’s a humorous quote I recently found that really sums up the next part of this post.
“Having a full stomach in a yoga class is like eating a three-bean salad before a first date: You just don’t want to do it.”
Some foods are best not to be consumed just before a workout, so to save belly ache or bloating I’ll list a few of the top offenders below.
Of course, everyone is different, so some people will be ok with consuming these foods before a workout. Others, however, may feel they weigh them down during a workout. Or worse, they cause gas formation and stomach cramping. Naturally, this will ultimately affect their performance.
See how you feel personally and make up your own mind about what suits you personally digestion wise.
High Fibre Vegetables
Such as cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage etc.).
Bran or Beans
Need I say more?
Naturally, everybody is different, so see how you feel when you consume fatty foods. and how much is a good balance. Aim to consume fatty foods a minimum of 2-4 hours before a workout. This is especially if you do find you experience some digestive discomfort after eating them. Or alternatively, avoid them until after your workout.
It’s certainly not that these foods are bad for you. It’s simply that you’ll likely feel full and sluggish and may find you cramp up easily. This is due to the fact that fat is very slow to digest. Even meals with healthy fats like peanut butter or a high-fat yoghurt should be avoided very close to a workout. That’s because these are also absorbed more slowly, and could lead to you feeling uncomfortable.
You may also find that richer, heavier foods could repeat on you. This is especially true during a yoga class where you’re twisting and turning, which might be less appealing the second time around!
Although carbs are good, I advise against simple, processed sources like candy. These foods are not great for you to start with, but they also tend to cause blood sugar irregularities and sugar crashes in the middle of your workout.
Natural, unprocessed carbs from fruit and veggies are a much better choice.
Don’t Over Eat
Though I’m sure it goes without saying, don’t overeat before you workout. Eating too much can cause indigestion, sluggishness, nausea or even vomiting.
If you’re going to eat a large meal, consume it 3-4 hours before a workout.
Depending on your activity of choice, you want to eat your snack from between 30mins – 3 hours before your workout.
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.