After a peaceful night’s sleep, the first thing you want in the morning is a plate of warm toast with butter and a sunny side up. Many of us rummage the fridge for food, trying to think of what to eat! If you happen to hit the gym early in the morning, you have to plan your breakfast beforehand. It is not a good idea to have a filling breakfast before you start exercising, but you can always have an energy bar. It is important that you eat only healthy snacks and not just anything that fills your stomach.

Stock up your fridge with chicken or tuna sandwiches, soups, salads, kale chips (low calorie), dips and homemade tortillas, and a packet of walnuts and almonds. This will prevent the early morning rush and the lazy tendency to skip breakfast. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you shouldn’t skip it altogether. Divide your breakfast into pre-gym meal and post-gym meal.

Pre-Workout Snacks

These snacks shouldn’t be too heavy on the stomach. Opt for light and healthy options that will give you energy. If you like to try new foods every day, you will be surprised to find several options! Here are some examples.

1. Yogurt Parfait

This is a very delicious snack you can have anytime. Yogurt is rich in calcium, which is great for your bones. You can add seasonal fruits and granola. Fruits and granola will give you the necessary dietary fiber and vitamins.

2. Oats

It is the healthiest cereal to begin the day with! You can have it like porridge or just combine dry, steel-cut oats with dry fruits and have it before you start to work out.

3. A Berry Shake

Blend a cup of frozen berries and ice and make your own fruit shake! It is yummy and will give you instant energy.
Blueberry Smoothie

4. Eggs and Toast

This classic combination is light on the stomach and a great way to begin the day.

5. Waffles

You can spread some maple or strawberry syrup on the waffles, before you munch on them. The waffles are light and yummy; the taste will simply linger in the mouth!

6. Wheat Pasta

Always select wheat pasta because it is low in gluten. You can have it with both red or white sauce and your favorite vegetables. Make sure that the white sauce is low fat; otherwise the pasta will become heavy on the stomach.

7. Chocolate Muffin

If you are a great fan of baked products, then muffins are a great choice for you. The chocolate muffin is an instant mood lifter. To make muffins a really healthy snack, you can make them with multigrain wheat instead of plain flour. This will make the muffin high on dietary fiber and low in gluten.

8. Salad

Combine shredded fresh lettuce with steamed mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, cucumber or some lightly pickled zucchini, feta cheese, and avocado. Season it with just salt, pepper, a dash of lemon juice and a light sprinkle of olive oil.You can add some dry fruits and nuts to add to the crunch.

9. Apples

Apples are low in saturated fat and cholesterol and are a great source of Vitamin C and E. You can have apple slices with peanut butter or just munch on a whole apple. You can go for these options if you love apples. Similarly you can try a cup of sliced bananas, cantaloupe and oranges.

Berry

10. Corn Tortillas or Kale Chips with Mexican dip

Opt for the baked kale chips and corn tortillas, which is less fattening. You can make the tortillas at home or purchase them. Make some homemade dip from low fat mayonnaise and chili flakes for a spicy kick! You can add some jalapeno also. You can also have the tortillas with spicy hummus dip. For a healthier option, cut vegetables like carrots and beans, steam them slightly and have it with hummus.

 

Post-Workout Snacks

The whole purpose of exercise is to build muscle strength. After an hour of grueling routine, you need to refuel yourself. To get maximum benefits from work out, you need to eat properly. Follow these simple eating tips to stay fit. The food needs to fill your stomach! Here are some yummy snacks that are easy to make.

11. Avocado Filled With Cottage Cheese

Remove the seed from the avocado and fill it with cottage cheese. Avocadoes are fortified with 19 essential amino acids, carotenoids, Vitamin C and E, Selenium, Zinc and phytoserols. You can experiment with many avocado-based snacks like chilled avocado soup, crab avocado quesadillas, tomato and avocado toasts, and eggs baked in avocado.

Avacados and eggs
Image credit: Steven Guzzardi

12. Pita Bread and Hummus

Hummus is made of chickpeas and it goes really well with pita bread. It adds variety to your normal post-gym meal

13. Chicken Hash

Combine diced chicken, butternut squash and apples and roast it in olive. Season with salt and pepper. Make a big bowl of chicken hash and store it in the fridge.

14. Scrambled Eggs

Use 2–3 eggs to make your scrambled eggs and spice them up with onion and bell peppers. You can have it a sandwich as well—just use multigrain or brown bread.

15. Spinach Smoothie

Spinach is the biggest source of veg proteins. Combine spinach with vanilla flavored yogurt, almond milk and banana to make a thick green smoothie. It is a great way to relax post workout.

16. Pancakes with Maple Syrup

Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberries

Image credit: Whitney

Make a batter with rice flour or plain flour, eggs, milk, low fat butter, baking powder, vanilla essence, powdered sugar and pinch of salt. Grease a non-stick frying pan with a pat of butter and sprinkle some water on it. If the water starts jumping from the pan with a sizzle, then give the batter. Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter on the greased pan. Cook for two minutes until the pancake is golden in colour. You can add variety by adding dry fruits and candies to the batter. Have it with maple syrup or chocolate sauce. The pancakes will give you the necessary energy post workout.

17. Quinoa and Chicken Mix

Take some boneless chicken pieces and smear them in salt and pepper. Now heat some olive oil in the pan and sear it. When the chicken cools down to room temperature dice it. Cook the quinoa and vegetables separately. Now blend quinoa, vegetables and diced chicken. Your high-protein snack is ready!

18. Soy Nuggets

Soybean is the richest source of plant protein. Take some soy granules and soak them in water for say, two hours. When the granules become soft, squeeze out the water from the granules and place the soaked nuggets in a separate bowl. Now add salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom powder, chopped green chilies and red chili powder (if you like it really spicy), and chopped garlic, cilantro and onions. Cover the bowl with a foil or cling wrap and let it sit for half an hour. Beat one egg and spread some breadcrumbs on a newspaper or a flat plate. Take some soy mixture on your palm and make a ball, then flatten the top using slight pressure. Dip it in egg and then roll it in the breadcrumbs and shallow fry it till golden brown. After frying place it on tissue paper to soak the extra oil. Serve it piping hot with ketchup.

19. Minty Pea Dip with Pretzel Chips

Good pretzel chips are readily available. All you need to make is the pea dip. Mash the frozen peas after steaming them slightly into a butter smooth consistency. Now add some chopped mint leaves for a more refreshing taste. You can store the dip in the fridge and use it later.

20. Tuna Salad on Bagel

Add some low-fat mayonnaise on tuna. Then add chopped garlic, onions, green chilies, and cilantro and blend it well. Spread some goat cheese on the bagel and then the tuna spread and simply enjoy!

 

Mentioned above are some options you can try, or you can create your own innovative breakfast and snack menus. If you are leaving for work just after a gym session, then you need to stock your office drawers with tidbits like choco tropical trail mix, crackers, protein or granola bars, muffins and cakes. Always carry a bottle of protein shake with you. Nowadays, you can find many health bars offering different types of energy drinks, so you can try those too!

You need carbohydrates before you start a work out. The trick is to have a blend of complex and simple carbs, so that the release of energy is slow and steady. Always keep yourself hydrated; try to drink 16–20 ounces of water 1–2 hours before you start workout. You can also sip sports drinks during your workout. Whatever you eat before exercise gets stored in the body as glycogen and it fuels your intense two-hour workouts. Here’s to wishing all my readers that you always stay healthy and strong!

Featured photo credit: Healthy Snacks via shutterstock.com

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