“What are the best pre-workout snacks?”
—Jessica, San Antonio, Texas

No matter what time of day you’re going to be active, having a pre-workout snack is a good idea. Our body needs energy, and you’ll get more out of your workout if you’re properly fueled. There are a lot of options for pre-workout snacks, and trying to choose one can get confusing. Here are some of my favorites—to see why, keep reading.

Snack ideas:

  • A piece of wholegrain toast topped with slices of avocado
  • A handful of nuts and a small piece of fruit
  • A banana with peanut butter
  • A rice cake with almond butter
  • Pretzels and hummus
  • A small bowl of oatmeal and a hard-boiled egg

What to look for in pre-workout snacks:

Mostly carbs  Carbohydrates are our main source of fuel, and the body can use them quickly for energy. Stick to lower- or natural-sugar options and lower fiber content.

Low fat, not no fat  Fats are essential to our body and should be included in your pre-workout snack. Just be sure not to eat too much fat. Keep it in the healthy fat category: Stick with unsaturated fats. Stay away from fried food.

Hydration  Drinking water is one of the best things we can do for our body before working out. We don’t need all of the extra sugar and calories that are included in many performance or sport drinks. The American Council on Exercise recommends consuming 20 ounces of water (about 2.5 cups) 2 to 3 hours before getting active, then another 8 ounces (1 cup) about 30 minutes before starting your workout.

These are just ideas—you can mix and match to make your own snacks. Sometimes we’re so busy, all we can manage is picking up a prepackaged granola bar at the school store. That’s OK too. Just make sure you read the ingredients and pick the best option based on the above guidelines.

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