Sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up snack before hitting the gym. These are my favorite quick and easy pre-workout snacks to give me a little boost of energy without weighing me down.
I sometimes even eat these within the traditional two-hour no food window before a yoga class. The carb content of these healthy snacks gives me the energy boost I need, but the fiber, protein, and healthy fats make them slow to digest so they stay with me for the duration of my workout.
V is for Vegan. GF is for gluten free.
1. HUMMUS ON A RICE CAKE (V, GF)
There are hundreds of variants on this theme; you can use any flavor of hummus or add veggies or greens on top. I generally use plain brown rice cakes for extra fiber. Here are some of my favorite flavor combinations:
Garlic hummus with homegrown sprouts
Chipotle pepper hummus with red bell pepper
Plain hummus with sliced cucumber
Black bean hummus with grape tomatoes
2. ORGANIC COTTAGE CHEESE WITH FRESH PINEAPPLE (GF)
A little cottage cheese goes a long way for a quick snack. I generally eat ¼ to ½ cup with 1 ring of pineapple. I use fresh pineapple to avoid the extra sugar content of syrupy canned pineapple. I love the sweet/salty combination. If you like Hawaiian pizza, this is a great snack to try.
3. ALMONDS OR ALMOND BUTTER (V, GF)
Almonds almost seem to be a magic energy food to me. Just one handful of almonds (about 15 almonds) or one spoonful of unsweetened almond butter (I like the fresh-ground kind) can give me enough energy and to wait a couple hours until my next meal, even if I was previously feeling hungry.
4. HALF AN APPLE WITH PEANUT BUTTER (V, GF)
This snack is especially great in the fall when many of us can get fresh apples from a local orchard. The combination of the natural sugar of the apple plus the healthy fat of the peanut butter is a sure-fire energy boost. You can substitute the peanut butter with your favorite nut butter, like hazelnut or cashew butter.
5. GREEK YOGURT WITH BERRIES (GF)
The sugar from the fruit together with the protein of the yogurt are another great way to boost energy before a workout. Sometimes I add a touch of 100% pure maple syrup or honey to bring out the sweetness of the berries.
6. WHOLE OATS, ALMOND MILK, CINNAMON AND WALNUTS (V, GF)
I really like whole oat oatmeal, made from whole oat groats. It is full of fiber and slow to digest, plus it has a sweeter taste than traditional oatmeal. You can cook oat groats like any other whole grain in a pot or rice cooker. I usually make several cups of oats and freeze all but what I will use in a week.
I mix the oats with some homemade almond milk, cinnamon, and walnuts, then heat it on the stove or in a microwave. The cinnamon and almond milk give a slight sweetness to the oats, so they don’t require any additional sugar. Before a workout I usually eat about ½ cup.