Strange as it may seem, one of the most frequently asked question when it comes to yoga is actually what do I eat before class?
As with any exercise, you really want to avoid eating right before you head into class, and as a general rule you want to avoid eating anything heavy in the two hours before you plan to do yoga.
If you have ever ignored this advice, you will probably have discovered the reason behind it’s existence.
Yoga can consist of twisting, bending and turning upside-down along with jumping to and from the back of your mat. On a full stomach it’s pretty uncomfortable, and sometimes even nauseating to have too much in your belly.
You do however want to go into class with a good amount of energy minus having the pains of undigested food, or the distraction of hunger gnawing at your belly. And that’s where this blog comes in with my 6 Top Snacks to Fuel Your Yoga Practice.
First off: When do I eat?
Preferably, try to have a small snack one – two hours before your class.
If you are going to a morning class you may find time to have quick and easy, light pre yoga breakfast, such as a smoothie, bowl of porridge, avocado on toast, chia puddingor a small bowl of museli 2 hours or so before yoga.
If not, opt for a small light snack minutes a mininum of 1 hour before class to help sustain you and give you the energy you need to push through without leaving you feeling bloated or heavy.
If you’re attending an evening class, you should prioritise eating well throughout the day to help your energy levels and stamina later on and then grab a snack 1-2 hours before your class..
6 Top Snacks to Fuel Your Yoga Practice
Bananas are potassium-rich, making them a great pre-workout snack. Potassium interacts with sodium and keeps your body properly hydrated, and the magnesium also helps to prevent cramps and bloating.
Fruit + Protein
Fruit and protein together are another great option. A piece of fruit such as an apple with nut butter is a good go-to. Alternatively a bowl of fresh berries with a little coconut yogurt is another good option.
Almonds help to boost energy, deliver a decent protein and healthy fat content and will help keep your hunger at bay. They contain potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E, helping you to stay hydrated and also aid in giving your muscles more staying power.
Personally I love to blend my almonds up with vanilla and cinnamon and make a delicious nut milk.
Just throw in a handful of pre-soaked almonds (soak in water overnight) and add half a teaspoon of cinnamon and vanilla extract and blend.
You can sieve out (or use a nut milk bag) the almond skin fibres, or leave them in there for more nutrition! (this also makes a good base to a smoothie).
This is a personal choice. Some people find smoothies are marvellous (myself included) and can keep them going for hours. Others find them too sloshy in their bellies before yoga.
It’s kind of a trial and error!
Personally before a class I like to mix up 2 frozen bananas, handful of berries, maca powder, greens power, chia seeds, almond milk and maybe even throw in half an avocado.
This mighty elixir will set you in motion and help you get the most out of your practice.
Porridge, rice, quinoa, crackers etc. can also work out well as a snack.
You could opt for a couple of oatcakes with cashew butter and a banana chopped up on top, or how about a rye cracker spread with smashed avocado and chilli flakes?
Porridge cooked with a teaspoon of coconut oil mixed through for energy, a dollop of almond butter swirled on top and a plump helping of berry compote on top? Don’t mind if I do!
The options are plentiful, but the key is to only eat a small amount. Just enough to keep away the hunger, but not so much that your belly is full.
Remember, in 75-90 minutes, you can eat again!
A perfect addition to a pre yoga smoothie, spread over warm toast or added to a light salad. These beauties contain healthy fats, energy and critical electrolytes like magnesium and potassium which contributes to proper cell and muscle function.
Plus, avocados are nutrient-dense so you don’t have to eat a lot of them to feel satiated. Just ¼ – ½ added to a smoothie will keep your blood sugar levels stable and your hunger at bay.
A yoga teacher of mine always recommended dark chocolate before class to his students.
Eating a little bit before class will help boost your concentration and focus, plus it’s great for keeping your blood sugar levels in check.
I carry Ombar chocolate around with me everywhere (addicted..? Maybe a little!)
But a tiny handful of cacao nibs mixed into a nutty, fruity trail mix wouldn’t go a miss either in my books.
I sometimes top off a chia pudding with a spoon of cacao nibs and goji berries – the ultimate combo.
And don’t forget….
Drink plenty of water /coconut water.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it.
Hydration is paramount to your health, and is essential in keeping you awake, energised and healthy.
It is best to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated, especially if you’re opting for a power vinyasa or hot yoga class.
If you have a very early morning class, make sure to drink plenty of water the day before and top up the morning of your class with a good amount of fresh water when you wake up.
Don’t be tempted to gulp a litre down right before class instead as you’ll be sloshing too and froe inside and generally feel unwell!
If it’s hard for you to drink that much water, try herbal teas like Pukka or yogi tea, or try adding fruit to your water to give it more flavour.
For more info on pre and post workout fuel, check out my previous blog Plant Based & Healthy Pre Workout Snack Tips and Workout Prep and Recovery: What to Eat and Drink and When
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*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