Ask The Experts: Best Pre- and Post-Workout Snacks
When training for an upcoming half-marathon, I make sure to fuel my workouts beforehand and eat properly afterward to help my muscles recover. Lately my go-to snacks have been a piece of cinnamon toast and half a banana before I head out for a run, and a chocolate milk, scrambled eggs and fruit (and sometimes another piece of cinnamon toast) when I return. I was curious what other sports nutrition experts were grabbing before and after they exercise. Here’s what I found out!
Tavis Piattoly, M.S., R.D., LDN, is the co-owner and director of sports nutrition education for My Sports Dietitian (His favorite snacks include peanut butter, fresh fruit and whey protein.
Pre: Half a PB and banana sandwich on whole-grain or P28 bread
Post: 1 cup milk, blended with 1 scoop whey protein and 1 cup fruit (berries or cherries)
When planning around a midmorning or midday workout, Abigail Dougherty, RDN reaches for some great on-the-go options.
Post: “An RXBar. I love the clean, whole-food ingredients and use of egg whites as one of the main sources of protein!”
It’s a smoothie for Cynthia Sass, MPH, R.D., CSSD, nutrition consultant for the New York Yankees and author of Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Pulses — The New Superfood.
Post: Fresh kale, frozen berries and cherries, pea protein powder, almond butter, water and fresh ginger root. “It's nutrient- and antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and provides a balance of healthy carbs, lean protein and good fat.”
Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., CSSD matches her food to her workouts. “My CrossFit workouts are high-intensity but short, so I don't need a ton of calories like endurance athletes need, but I do need high-quality protein to help my muscles develop, so I focus on more protein and fewer carbs.”
Pre: 3 or 4 clementines or 1 banana with half of a whey-protein shake
Post: The remainder of the whey-protein shake with 2 eggs plus 1 white, scrambled with veggies and stuffed in a small corn tortilla with salsa
Heidi Skolnik, M.S., CDN, FACSM keeps it simple but powerful — hitting on all-important nutrients. She also keeps in mind how important timing is when choosing what to eat before exercise: “Depends on what is being done and how long is the window before the work. The closer to working out, the smaller the amount of food, the more simple-to-digest the carbohydrate. … If weightlifting, add some protein.”
Pre : Applesauce pouch (cardio) or small oatmeal and milk (weightlifting)
Post : Greek yogurt and a banana — or beef jerky and a large soft pretzel
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.