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10 Workout-Ready Meals – Read, Eat, Sweat!

Morning Workout

Assuming you don’t get up at the crack of dawn, your best bet is a grab and go snack. The sooner you eat before your workout, the lighter your meal should be. A quick 50-100 calorie snack 5 to 30 minutes before exercising will do the trick. Here are some of our favourites:

  • 2 Medjool Dates – high in glucose, a natural sugar your body quickly converts to muscle fuel.
  • A Banana – easily digested and a source of carbohydrates (think energy) and potassium, which helps your body maintain its fluid and mineral balance while you exercise.
  • A White Potato With Soy Yogurt – Top a cooked potato with a scoop of soy yogurt for a quick dose of carbs that is low in fat and fiber, two things that can cause stomach upset eaten too close to workout time.
  • “A&A” – Pair an apple with about 12 almonds for a nutritional powerhouse snack, rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Afternoon or Evening Workout

Your best bet is to eat a 300-500 calorie meal, rich in complex carbs, about two hours
before exercising. We love these power-packed meals:

  • Oatmeal, Strawberries, Blueberries and a Pinch of Cinnamon – Oatmeal’s carbs are released into the bloodstream slowly, which keeps the energy coming throughout your whole workout.
  • Whole Wheat Toast with Nut Butter, Hemp Seeds and Dried and Fresh Fruit – Complex carbs plus protein, glucose and fiber – and did we mention it’s yummy?
  • Sweet Potato and Amaranth – Combine 1 cubed sweet potato with ½ cup amaranth and a drizzle of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for flavour. New to cooking amaranth? Just boil a cup of amaranth in 2.5 cups of water for 18-20 minutes, being careful not to overcook.
  • Celery and Nut Butter – It’s not just for kids! Low in calories and high in nutrients, celery is great when combined with the healthy protein and fat in nut butter. This easy-to-make meal fills you up but doesn’t slow you down, giving you long-lasting energy for your workout.
  • Turkey and Grapes – Combine low-sodium, high-protein fresh turkey and antioxidant-rich red or purple grapes for a meal that has the perfect balance of protein and carbs.
  • Greek Yogurt with Dried Fruit, Honey and Nuts – yogurt is a great source of energy and activates enzymes that help metabolize carbs and protein.

Small sips of water should be enough to sustain your hour-long workout. If you’re
planning to work out for longer than that, make sure you’re snack-ready. Research
shows that if you exercise longer than an hour without giving your body any nutrients,
you actually burn less fat and calories than if you had eaten – and you lower your rate of
calorie burning (English for “post exercise metabolic rate”) post-workout.

Easy-to-carry snacks are a bag of raisins, trail mix or if you prefer, energy gels or energy
drinks.

Your workout is done – now what?

There is a magic window of about 20-60 minutes post-workout when your muscles are primed to store carbs and protein away to provide energy and help your muscles recover. The longer you wait to eat after you exercise, the less likely your body will be to use your food as fuel and recovery.

So what’s the best wind-down nosh? Try a protein smoothie, a turkey sandwich, an ounce of cheese and an apple, chicken with brown rice, yogurt with almonds – the key is to combine proteins with carbs. And don’t forget to hydrate!