A pre-workout snack will boost your energy levels and provide you with the nutrition combination needed to fuel you up for a great workout! What you eat before a workout can even ward off muscle soreness and replenish your body even after your workout is over.
You don’t have to be a dietician to know indulging in donuts before exercising isn’t beneficial, but the question is: what should you eat? Though your nutritional requirements may differ depending on your goals and activities, these pre-workout snacks will provide you with the perfect ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to keep you satiated and fueled up for a sweat session.
Pre-Workout Snack Tip
Pro-tip for your pre-workout snack, timing matters! You don’t want your stomach growling during exercise, but you don’t want to feel like you just ate Thanksgiving dinner, either.
If you’re eating a pre-workout snack, try for about 30-60 minutes ahead of your workout. (Keep in mind If you’re eating something more substantial, like a full meal, shoot for 2-3 hours before a workout)
You might also want to explore how your electrolyte balance impacts performance. I reviewed the best electrolyte supplements so you don’t have to. I take one before every work out!
Best Pre-Workout Snacks for Better Exercise
A high carbohydrate snack with a little bit of fat and/or protein is ideal for most pre-workout snacks because it can easily be digested, plus it regulates your blood sugar.
Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars
A twist on my homemade energy bars with a nice apple cinnamon oatmeal vibe. These are the perfect pre-workout snack on the go. The seeds and nuts are a great source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids that also provide lots of long-term energy.
Turmeric Tuna Boats
Classic tuna salad is usually filled with fat (and not the good kind) because of the mayonnaise base. These tuna boats are made with hummus, which lowers the calories and adds extra protein. Plus, the super healthy spice, turmeric, is involved! Scoop some over-sliced red pepper and enjoy!
Rise and Shine Quinoa
Quinoa is a grain-free option that is high in protein, just like oatmeal. Pairing your oatmeal or quinoa with berries will fuel your sweaty gym session.
I love quinoa, and this is the perfect meal prep recipe for quinoa lovers! I make a big batch weekly and keep it in the fridge to have on hand for breakfast or a pre-workout snack.
Pumpkin Pie Protein Bites
Anyone who knows me knows that pumpkin is one of my all-time favorite foods; I’m OBSESSED! These protein bites taste like rolled-up pumpkin pie filling, but each serving also has almost 7 grams of protein! They are totally vegan, gluten-free, and super easy to make.
Edamame is a great source of plant-based protein. At 8.5 grams of protein per cup, it doesn’t take much to deliver this essential macronutrient to your system. Edamame is also a good source of leucine (about 1237 mg per cup), an essential amino acid that aids the body in muscle building.
Vanilla Raspberry Overnight Oats
Feeling drained mid-workout? Try eating a bowl of steel-cut oats pre-workout to give your body lasting energy. Overnight Oats are the perfect solution for busy mornings, and they couldn’t be simpler to prepare.
Grilled Golden Beet Salad With Quinoa and Citrus Dressing
When you eat beets, pre-workout will increase the nitric oxide production in your body, which will boost your blood flow — necessary for when your muscles have to work extra hard to complete those Olympic lifts. Find even more of my favorite beet recipes here!
This golden beet salad made with quinoa and a citrus dressing is so flavor-packed, nutritious, and beautiful to boot.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Energy Bars
These healthy peanut butter and chocolate energy bars are to die for! Made from natural ingredients that taste amazing, you will really taste the homemade difference from those high-priced bars you buy in the store. A perfect on-the-go healthy snack. This pre-workout snack provides carbohydrates to fuel your muscles and provides plenty of fiber, protein, and healthy fats to energize you while also taming your tummy.
Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus Wraps
If you’re going for a long run, you’ll want to have a pre-workout snack that is more sustainable an hour before you hit the pavement. Two tablespoons of hummus provide you with protein and iron for strength.
This creamy low-fat roasted red pepper hummus wrap with fresh toppings is full of flavor and has a satisfying crunch! The combo of veggies, whole grains, and beans will give you energy and fuel you with this tasty wrap!
No-Bake Apple Pie Energy Bites
I love pie! Pretty much any kind, but apple is one of my favorites. I’ve tried other apple energy bite recipes and created this one that tastes just like apple pie. As long as you have a food processor, this recipe is a snap! You could always add a scoop of your favorite protein powder for added protein. These energy bites are high in carbohydrates which give you energy.
Cajun Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds make for such a healthy snack! And these cajun roasted pumpkin seeds are full of flavor, low calorie, and don’t contain any sugar. They are not too spicy; adults and kids alike love them! Bonus: pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, fiber, and cancer-fighting selenium!
Green Protein Smoothie
This green protein smoothie recipe combines nutrient-packed kale, frozen mango, and almond milk. Filled with protein and vitamins, this green smoothie will give your body an energy kickstart. This green protein smoothy recipe combines nutrient-packed kale, frozen mango, and almond milk and is energizing and delicious.
No-Bake Peanut Butter Energy Bites
Why buy expensive power bars when these no-bake energy balls are so darn tasty & EASY! These little energy bites are packed with protein, high-quality fats, and a bit of dark chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth. You mix up all these tasty ingredients and stick in the fridge to set.
Banana Nut Oatmeal
Oats provide both simple and complex carbohydrates, which generate a slow release of energy. Oatmeal is highly underrated for all the health benefits it provides. This banana nut oatmeal gives you a deliciously seemingly indulgent breakfast that is also super healthy! Bonus: Oatmeal is also great for boosting the immune system.
Green Monkey Smoothie
Green smoothies are my favorite, as they are packed with nutrients and delicious ingredients! I swear adding avocado to this smoothie makes it taste like ice cream without the added sugar! Plus, this smoothie is full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber, so you are guaranteed a wholesome pre-workout snack that will satisfy you!
Avocado toast is a popular and delicious snack that packs a healthy punch. One serving of avocado has 3.5 grams of unsaturated fat – the good kind of fat you want! Avocados also contain potassium which provides a jumpstart to muscle recovery. Per avocado half, you get about 427 mg of potassium.
Try this avocado egg salad toast recipe for a fun and healthy twist.
Greek yogurt with nuts and fruit
Greek yogurt has a mix of whey and casein, which means you’re giving your body a beneficial combination of fast- and slow-digesting proteins that give you muscle-building amino acids during your workout. Check out these 15 Greek yogurt recipes to help you great creative with this yummy snack!