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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 July 3, 2020

          How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

          How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

          Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

          Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

          I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

          You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

          Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

          When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

          I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

          Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

          Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

          If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

          Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

          1. The Inner Critic

          This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

          • Other people’s words—many times your parents
          • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
          • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
          • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

          The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

          Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

          2. The Worrier

          This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

          The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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          3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

          This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

          This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

          The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

          4. The Sleep Depriver

          This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

          The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

          • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
          • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
          • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
          • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

          How can you control these squatters?

          How to Master Your Mind

          You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

          Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

          There are two ways to control your thoughts:

          • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
          • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

          This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

          The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

          Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

          1. For the Inner Critic

          When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

          You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

          For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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          You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

          “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

          If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

          This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

          • They rile up the Worrier.
          • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
          • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
          • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
          • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

          Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

          Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

          2. For the Worrier

          Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

          Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

          You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

          • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
          • Muscles tense

          Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

          If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

          Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

          “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

          Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

          If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

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          Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

          Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

          For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

          “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

          Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

          Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

          “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

          Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

          3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

          Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

          The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

          I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

          Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

          Breathe in through your nose:

          • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
          • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
          • Focus on your belly rising.

          Breathe out through your nose:

          • Feel your lungs emptying.
          • Focus on your belly falling.
          • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

          Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

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          One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

          Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

          4. For the Sleep Depriver

          (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

          I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

          Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

          1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
          2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

          When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

          From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

          For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

          If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

          You can also use this technique any time you want to:

          • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
          • Shut down your thinking
          • Calm your feelings
          • Simply focus on the present moment

          The Bottom Line

          Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

          You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

          Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

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          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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