When it comes to fitness, most of us pay a lot of attention to our workout routine, weight and strength training, and diet plan. But we tend to overlook some important steps in between that can make a lot of difference to our regimen. A very common misconception when it comes to fitness is that one should exercise on an empty stomach. On the contrary, dietitians say that eating before a workout session ensures that the body has a steady supply of proteins, carbs, and energy during the high-intensity activity. Here are seven nutritious foods that will help you get optimum results from your daily workouts.
Like every other part of your diet plan, your pre-workout snack should complement your exercise routine and bodily needs.
The following options are healthy, energy-packed, and ideal for morning workouts:
1. Fruit Smoothies:
A fruit smoothie is a great snack option before a workout. Smoothies are fuss-free, quick to prepare, and nutritious. You should choose fruits that have a high glycemic index such as bananas, watermelons, mangoes, and pineapples. Bananas are great for quick energy and contain carbs, potassium and manganese. Kiwis are also packed with nutrients and minerals. The carbs in the fruits break down quickly and provide energy during a workout and the nutrients and proteins keep muscle damage in check.
Oatmeal is one of the top dietitian recommendations as a pre-workout meal. This superfood is a rich source of minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fibre and essential fatty acids. Additionally, they take very little time to cook. You can add fruits and nuts to your oatmeal to increase its nutritional value even more. They will keep you filled for long without making you feel sluggish and bloated.
3. Brown rice with chicken:
Though most people prefer to exercise in the morning, some might have to opt for a workout in the evening or at night. A great option for a pre-workout lunch or dinner is the combination of brown rice and lightly cooked chicken. The light and simple meal would not weigh you down or make you feel bloated. Yet it would provide a substantial amount of carbohydrates and proteins to fuel your gym session.
4. Whole Grain Toast:
A breakfast meal or snack cannot get easier than toast. Whole grain bread is a much healthier, nutritious alternative to processed white bread. You can go for whole grain variants like brown rice or quinoa that are packed with fiber and release energy steadily. Top your toast with homemade fruit jam or nut butter or couple it with yoghurt, honey, and dried fruits. All these ingredients break down easily and provide quick energy.
5. Sprouts and Legumes:
Legumes and sprouts contain a lot of vitamins, fibers, proteins, and minerals. Sprouts provide complex carbohydrates that slowly release energy for a longer duration of time. Chickpeas are one of the best workout snacks and they don’t involve any cooking either. You just need to season them with salt and lemon juice for a fresh and light taste. Make sure to eat to them 1-2 hours before you eat.
No list of pre-workout foods is complete without eggs. This household staple is also a very rich source of proteins and minerals. You can eat eggs in a variety of ways and even combine them with other foods like whole-grain bread for a more filling meal. If you feel that the yolks make you bloated and sluggish, you can separate the egg whites which contain zero fat and a lot of protein.
7. Dried Fruits and Nuts:
Dried fruits are a quick fix if you are running very late and need to rush to the gym. Keep a pack of mixed nuts and dried fruits stashed in your bag. Along with nutritional benefits, these are also tasty and crunchy. While nuts have a lot of proteins, dried fruits are packed with carbs that help with muscle recovery and quick energy. You can opt for dried fruits like apricots, dried berries, dates and pineapple.
Eating at the right time is as important as choosing the right foods. Some of these options contain complex carbs that need time to release energy. Make sure that you eat at least 45 minutes before your exercise session. These nutritious snacks and meals will complement your workouts and get you higher up on the fitness scale.