Maintain your energy and maximize your workout with these guilt-free snacks.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your waistline, your mood and your energy, but if you don’t make the right choices in the kitchen, the benefits of exercise can be quickly negated.
To maximize the effectiveness of your workout and stay energized, consider these nutritionist-approved guidelines and recipes for guilt-free snacking.
Greek Yogurt + Berries
Magnesium is critical for proper body function and is directly related to your body’s ability to release energy. Depending on your age and health, your body needs between 80 and 420 mg per day according to the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements.
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of magnesium, as well as protein. When you’re working out consistently, it’s important to replenish your glycogen sources and give your body sufficient fuel to build and repair muscle. Toss some blueberries or pomegranate seeds on top for a burst of antioxidants too.
Legumes like chickpeas, lentils and peas are a great post-workout snack. They’re slower to release energy, which means your blood sugar is less likely to spike. This snack is the perfect nosh after a moderate cardio session as it’s close to the ideal 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein.
- 1 can chickpeas (drained, rinsed and patted dry)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (measured solid)
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne
Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt coconut oil in a saucepan. Place chickpeas in a bowl and drizzle with coconut oil. In a separate bowl, mix spices together, then sprinkle on chickpeas. Mix well and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until crispy, turning at 20 minutes. Store at room temperature in a bag or Tupperware.
A Handful of Almonds
Even if you’re crazy busy, you can toss some almonds into your purse. They’ll keep you from the vending machine visit come 10 a.m. This no-nonsense snack contains manganese, copper and riboflavin, all of which directly affect the body’s energy production and oxygen circulation. And the protein will tide you over until your next meal.
If your workout includes intense strength training, a smoothie is a great way to fuel muscle repair afterward. The glucose from the fruit and coconut water quickly absorb. Include hemp hearts for omega-3 fatty acids to reduce muscle inflammation.
- 1 cup mixed frozen berries
- ½ cup chopped pineapple
- 1-2 cups spinach
- 1 cup coconut water, or unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup water
- ½ scoop vegan protein powder
- 1 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 small piece of ginger
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Banana + Nut Butter
Bananas and peanut butter might be nature’s most perfect combo. Bananas contain all kinds of nutrients — vitamins B6 and C, magnesium and potassium — have high mineral content and are easily digested. If you’re an athlete, bananas may help reduce muscle cramps and soreness too.
Pair this super fruit with two tablespoons of nut butter. Peanut butter has a 2:1 ratio of fat to protein, which means it’ll stick with you for a while. Not a peanut butter fan? Opt for almond or sunflower seed butter instead.