The best goals are often derailed by good intentions gone south—typically the result of a less than optimal decision, which when further examined can be traced to poor planning and preparation.

Celebrity fitness expert Jorge Cruise answers 24Life readers’ burning questions in order to keep their progress on track.

24Life: What are great foods to give me energy throughout the day?

Jorge Cruise (JC): The key to long-lasting energy is nourishing your body with healthy snacks on hand that are high in fiber and protein, but also low in calories. The reason most of us lack energy in the afternoon is because we are simply just hungry. My go-to energy snacks are bananas, black beans and yogurt. Bananas are mainly made up of fiber and sugar and are rich in potassium and B vitamins, making them a great source of energy. Because bananas are high in fiber, they take longer to digest than other foods, allowing them to provide a sustained source of energy for the body. Black beans contain a complex carbohydrate called starch, which the body slowly digests and uses for energy without spiking blood-sugar levels. One cup of cooked black beans contains 15 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber, making it a perfect energy-boosting snack. Lastly, yogurt in the afternoon is a great grab-and-go snack to give you a quick energy boost. Yogurt contains a good amount of protein and lactose, a milk sugar used for energy. The protein contained within yogurt helps slow down the absorption of lactose, making the energy boost long lasting.

24Life: What is a good pre- and post-workout snack if I am trying to lose weight?

JC: The best pre-workout snacks are those rich in fiber and protein. The fiber will allow your body to feel full longer, while the protein will give your body the fuel and energy it needs to burn throughout a workout. However, it’s important to be mindful of the calories when it comes to a pre-workout snack. Pick snacks under 300 calories so that you don’t overindulge. Here are some of my favorite pre-workout snacks:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • ½ cup oatmeal with ½ cup berries

The best post-workout snacks are those high in protein paired with a little carbohydrates. The protein and carbohydrates replenish energy stores and repair muscles.

  • pea protein shake paired with a banana
  • 1 cup air-popped popcorn sprinkled with chocolate pea protein powder on top
  • frozen grapes
  • medium sweet potato

24Life: I’m hungry before bed—should I eat something?

JC: Whenever it’s late at night and I feel a hunger pain coming along, I always ask myself to rate my hunger on a scale of 1 to 10. Below is the scale that I follow. I typically aim to eat when I’m at a 3 to 4 and stop when I’m around 5 or 6. Use this rule as a frame of reference if you are trying to lose weight.

1—Ravenous, weak, dizzy, jittery, headache; hangry. Can’t concentrate.
Stomach acid is churning. You don’t care what you eat, but you must
2—Stomach growling, cranky, feel a headache coming on, can’t stop thinking
about food.
3—Stomach is starting to growl, stomach feels empty, eating would be
enjoyable now.
4—Could eat something, may feel the first pangs or gurgles of hunger; you
notice your first thoughts of food.
5—Full, satisfied, neither hungry or full; your stomach doesn’t feel bloated at all.
6—Perfectly and pleasantly full, relaxed and comfortable.
7—Starting to feel a little uncomfortable. Food stops tasting as good. Stomach
feels a bit stretched. You start to feel sleepy.
8—Need to unbutton your pants; you know you’ve gone too far and you feel
9—Your stomach hurts, feeling heavy and uncomfortable; clothes feel tight.
10—You are so overstuffed it hurts. You are in a food coma. You feel sick. You
are Thanksgiving-dinner full.

If you are hungry, some good late-night snacks are:

  • a pea protein shake
  • an apple
  • 1 cup air-popped popcorn
  • 1 Tiny and Full chocolate coconut fiber bar

To find out more, read about Cruise on 24Life.

Photo credit: Jorge Cruise Media.