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20 Healthy Pre and Post Workout Snacks You Should Try

20 Healthy Pre and Post Workout Snacks You Should Try

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.

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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.

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    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

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        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.

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          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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          Last Updated on September 28, 2020

          The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

          The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

          At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

          Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

          One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

          When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

          So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

          Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

          This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

          Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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          When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

          Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

          One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

          Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

          An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

          When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

          Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

          Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

          We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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          By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

          Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

          While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

          I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

          You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

          Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

          When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

          Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

          Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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          Con #2: Less Human Interaction

          One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

          Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

          Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

          This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

          While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

          Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

          Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

          This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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          For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

          Con #4: Unique Distractions

          Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

          For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

          To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

          Final Thoughts

          Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

          We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

          More About Working From Home

          Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

          Reference

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