6 Pre and Post Workout Foods For Better Health

Nutrition is no simple task. What we eat (or don't eat!) drastically affects our mood, our health and certainly our energy levels. And if you have a regular exercise regimen, you know how easily you can be thrown off by not eating properly before your workout. But did you know that what you eat after your workout is also critical?

Pre-Workout Foods

Boost your protein, carbs and fats for sustained energy during your workout.

  1. Superfood Smoothie: Liquid nutrition gets into your body so much faster. Smoothies are an excellent way to get a well-rounded burst of proteins, carbs and healthy fats to sustain you through your workout. Superfoods like whey, wheatgrass powder and hemp seeds are excellent and easily-digestible proteins that can give your muscles a boost. Adding low-glycemic fruits such as berries give you that much-needed glucose for energy and attention, but without the excess sweetness.
  2. Nuts: Nutrient dense nuts pack protein, fats and carbs, giving you a handful of healthy power fuel for any type of workout. Because they're so loaded with benefits, a little really does go a long way and you'll feel full for hours. Convenient and easy to eat, nuts travel well too if you need an extra boost during your workout. Try raw almonds, cashews, walnuts or brazil nuts before a workout and see if they do the trick!
  3. Hard-boiled egg: Eggs are little powerhouses of protein and energy. Of course, it makes a huge difference whether your egg is organic! And it's even more beneficial if they're free-range. Hopefully you're buying your eggs from a local farm or farmer's market where you know the quality of the products first-hand.

Post-Workout Foods

Feed your body by repairing muscle tissues and replenishing glycogen.

  1. Beans: Replenishing amino acids and carbs after a workout is so important. Beans are a good source of both and they're also low in fat, making them an excellent food for your recovery. Hummus—a dip typically made with garbanzo beans (chickpeas) is a great healthy snack. Load it onto a slice of whole grain toast for extra fiber and protein, too.
  1. Greens: Dark leafy green vegetables like chard, collards, kale and spinach are not only full of vitamins and minerals but they also contain protein and lots of fiber. Working out is a detox—especially to your lymphatic system—and greens are excellent at helping to pull the excess toxins out of your body. Steamed or lightly sautéed greens along with a whole grain like brown rice or barley makes an excellent post-workout meal. Greens also help to alkalize your body after a workout.
  1. Lemonade: It may seem counterintuitive, but citrus fruits actually have an alkalizing effect on your body, which is important after a workout. They're also super hydrating. You can make electrolyte-rich "lemonade" by adding a low-glycemic sweetener such as coconut palm sugar, coconut water or dates, a big pinch of mineral salt and a dash of spirulina or wheatgrass. Blend with ice and enjoy your recovery!

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