Pre-workout meals and snacks are vital to getting the most out of your workouts. Eating healthy foods that deliver the right nutrients before working out gives you the energy and strength to perform at your very best. These foods provide you with a healthy pre workout alternative to fuel your muscles during each exercise.
There are three key macronutrients that play a huge part in giving you the fuel you need for a workout and that help you recover faster post-workout. These are:
Carbohydrates: Your muscles use glucose from carbs to provide the “fuel” for your workouts.
Proteins: Protein helps maintain and increase muscle mass by increasing the production of amino acids in our blood.
Fats: Fat gets a bad rep in the fitness world, but certain types of fats are essential for workouts as they help fuel your body for longer.
The ideal pre-workout meal should have low fat content, moderate protein content, and high carb content.
It’s important to note that there are good and bad carbs for working out. Some foods, like white bread, pastries, and sugary treats, have a high carb content. Unfortunately, these are unhealthy. They are processed foods high in sugars and additives.
Good carbs are in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, and other foods that are in their natural, fiber-rich form.
With all of this in mind, below are 7 healthy alternatives for pre-workouts that are rich in all three of these macronutrients. Eating these meals 1-2 hours before working out will make a huge difference in how you feel and perform during and after your workout.
7 Healthy Alternatives for Pre-workouts
Oats release carbohydrates slowly, which makes them a perfect choice for a pre-workout food. They have plenty of fiber and vitamin B, which help convert carbohydrates into energy.
Eating some oatmeal, an oat-based snack bar, or any other oat-based food before a workout makes a huge difference in how hard you can train.
2. Dried Fruits
Dried fruits make for a quick, easy, and tasty healthy pre workout alternative that delivers plenty of carbs to fuel you throughout a hard workout. They also contain other beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, minerals, micronutrients, and fiber.
The best part is that you have loads of different fruits to choose from, so you can mix it up whenever you want.
3. Mixed Nuts
Nuts are a great source of protein and carbohydrates. In particular, walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds are ideal for a pre-workout snack. They are rich in cramp-reducing electrolytes and contain a wide range of vitamins.
Nuts are also high in fat content. It’s mostly healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, but if weight loss is your main goal, pick a leaner pre-workout snack from this list.
4. Bananas and Greek Yogurt
Bananas and Greek yogurt are the perfect combination for a pre-workout food. Greek yogurt has less sugar and more protein than regular yogurt. Bananas have carbs and potassium to fuel your workout and support muscle function.
Go for a low-fat, plain flavor of Greek yogurt. The flavored yogurts are tempting, but the additional sugars and additives don’t add anything to your workout.
5. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches with Whole Grain Bread
I’m sure we all remember this classic sandwich combination from our childhoods. If you enjoy PB&J sandwiches, you’ll be happy to hear it’s a great choice for a pre-workout food.
Peanut butter is rich in healthy fats and vitamins, whole grain bread delivers a huge amount of carbs, and the jelly contains sugar for energy.
6. Spinach Omelette
Egg whites are rich in protein, while the yolks are rich in vitamins and minerals. You can use just the egg whites if muscle gain is your main workout goal, but omelettes taste so much better with the yolks included.
Spinach is a superfood loaded with nutrients, vitamins, iron, and more. It’s easy to throw some spinach leaves onto an omelette that has a lot of nutritional benefits.
7. Brown Rice and Chicken
Brown rice is a good source of carbs and fiber that our bodies slowly absorb, while chicken is high in protein. A meal of brown rice and chicken provides a slow release of energy and plenty of nutrition for muscle recovery.
Turkey is a suitable replacement if you don’t want to eat chicken. It has a very similar amount of protein, but is slightly leaner and has less fat and fewer calories.
Learn more about eating right and finding a healthy pre workout alternative to feel your best whether you’re working out or not.