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Snack Attack: Pre and Post Workout Snack Ideas

People are always asking me what they should eat before and after working out and the math is simple: aim for a high-carbohydrate, moderate protein, low-fat meal or snack. The problem comes in when trying to figure out what snacks and meals fall into those basic guidelines. I did a fun little quiz on foods for working out a while back, but recently Weight Watchers has summed up their favorite pre- and post-workout snacks/meals. They sound tasty and look easy, so I wanted to share them with you so you can get a few more ideas for yourself. They are:

Five pre-workout snack ideas:

  1. Half a chicken, turkey or lean roast beef sandwich on whole-wheat bread
  2. Low-fat yogurt with a sliced banana
  3. Low-fat string cheese and 6 whole-grain crackers
  4. Hard-boiled eggs, yolks removed and replaced with hummus. (Check out my own recipe here!)
  5. Skim milk blended with frozen fruit to make a smoothie

For post-workout meal ideas just


Five post-workout replenishing meal ideas:

  1. One or two poached eggs on whole-wheat toast
  2. Bean burrito: a whole-wheat tortilla filled with black beans, salsa and reduced-fat cheese
  3. Stir-fried chicken and vegetables (try pepper, zucchini and carrot) over brown rice
  4. Whole-wheat pasta tossed with chicken, broccoli and eggplant
  5. Whole-grain cereal or oatmeal, with milk and fruit (such as a sliced banana)


Join The Conversation
idawson idawson 9 years
it depends for me. bananas are usually food of choice either that or a smoothie that has banana in it.
hillamaria hillamaria 9 years
I also find it better not to eat before workout but sometimes your stomach is just screaming for a little food. No. two and five sound like something I could try eating before working out! From the post-workout foods I really like whole-grain cereal with milk and fruit, that's something I have often eaten, milk tastes so good afterwards.
LuckyAnaiya LuckyAnaiya 9 years
I am usually better if I dont eat before the workout, even if I eat an hour before I still cramp so I usually do it before dinner. I will try the meals suggested. If I am working out in the middle of the day or right I before I go to bed, I usually have almonds, walnuts, cashews with water and a chewable multi-vitamin, oh and a Kraft cheese pop. Weird combo but I sleep so well when I do.
emalove emalove 9 years
I eat yogurt with sliced banana all the time! It tastes great and it really fills me up.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
everything sounds delish and really light before and after a workout.
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 9 years
I generally work out in the morning, so I'll grab a Balance Bare or Larabar on my way into the gym, just to get something in my stomach. I come home to shower and get ready for work, and on the way, I'll have some whole grain cereal and light vanilla soy milk, which usually holds me over until 11am when I start thinking about lunch.
ffemt1201 ffemt1201 9 years
thanks arthur ;-)
kgtg1 kgtg1 9 years
machineangel - I agree as well! citygirl - good suggestions!
citygirl2 citygirl2 9 years
machineangel, i agree! before my workouts, i usually have some veggie or fruit, usually carrots/celery with hummus or an apple or orange. it's something i know will give me energy, and not a sideache. post-workout, i love a piece of whole grain toast with almond butter. or something like pretzels and a banana to replenish my sodium and potassium levels.
bigsee bigsee 9 years
goodness you all eat so well...i'm a naughty girl in comparison! :) i usually start my morning off with 2 eggs with sriracha (thai red chile sauce) on 1 piece whole wheat toast with 2 cups of coffee (black), or a bowl of oatmeal (not instant, actual oats) and berries with flax, then get my morning stuff done and work out about an hour later...will usually have a handful of nuts or an orange or something on the way. post workout i love love love fruit smoothies with soy milk, oj, blueberries, and protein powder...sometimes i add flax seed, or i'll omit the oj and add fat free plain yogurt. sometimes i just eat a sandwich, or tonight i worked out later so i came home and made a chicken salad...should probably be more disciplined but i eat a lot...pretty healthily though.
JivaFit-Julie JivaFit-Julie 9 years
I love eating low-fat cottage cheese after a hard workout that includes strength and cardio. It's filled with protein and calcium.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great suggestions!
machineangel machineangel 9 years
Where's the vegan love? I work out religiously, and would like to improve my pre- and post-workout nutrition, but I can't eat anything on these lists. (Certain things could be removed, of course, but that changes the nutritional content.)
DiaMT DiaMT 9 years
I am getting ready to hit the gym now and just had yogurt with one tablespoon each of ground flax, pumpkin seeds, and unsalted sunflower seeds. Should hold me over for a cardio session followed by Pilates mat class.
ChicaCity ChicaCity 9 years
I need to eat before I work out or else I feel like passing out by the end of my cardio! Chicken is usually a good bet.
renaimarie renaimarie 9 years
I ride my bike into work some mornings and before I leave I eat a piece of whole grain toast with PB. Once I'm at work I eat a piece of fruit and a Lara bar or some oatmeal if I'm still hungry.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
i admire you guys for drinking soy milk. I just can't stomach it. I usually have a few whole grain crackers and cheese before I exercise(usually a mile walk). And afterwards I have a turkey sandwich or some brown rice and veggies with chicken. But sometimes afterwards I am not even hungry! I really try to get enough protein, but sometimes I know I don't.
missloulou missloulou 9 years
i usually snack on a bowl of cereal and soy milk before a workout, and have something like a banana with peanut butter after a workout. i probably do need to eat a little more protein though.
tiffanysophia tiffanysophia 9 years
Today I went to bodypump just half an hour after I woke up. I had a cup of coffee with soy milk at home, then a banana on the way there. When I got home I had a bunch of grapes and a salad with field lettuce, yellow pepper, cherry toms, and a bit of tuna, with Ken's Steakhouse light Northern Italian. I think it was pretty good!
Arthur Arthur 9 years
oh yeah, and while the nutritional composition changes pretty dramatically depending on how firm it is, it is relatively high in protein so it makes a good pre workout stomach filler.
Arthur Arthur 9 years
ffemt1201, from wikipedia: Tofu, or bean curd, is a food of Chinese origin, made by coagulating soy milk, and then pressing the resulting curds into blocks. Tofu has very little flavor or smell on its own, so it can be used either in savory or sweet dishes, and is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish. The production of tofu from soy milk is similar to the production of cheese from milk. You can most likely find it in the dairy section of your market. I don't cook with it, but just buy semi firm tofu and eat it plain before early morning gym workouts, surf sessions or bike rides. I have a hard time eating anything else before the sun comes up.
lightheaded lightheaded 9 years
Usually string cheese works for me!
ffemt1201 ffemt1201 9 years
ok, this might be really stupid to ask...but what IS tofu?
Arthur Arthur 9 years
may sound a little strange, but I like plain tofu cut in cubes before early am workouts. Since i usually don't really want to eat then anyway, the fact that they are tasteless is a benefit.
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