I will admit. I hate headlines like this. The reality is that it once you start reading, the “easy and convenient” snacks end up having 28 ingredients requiring several small appliances to prep. Another negative is the suggestion of expensive energy drinks “conveniently” purchased at the front desk of your local gym. At $5 to $7 a pop five days a week you end up breaking the bank for a boatload of unwanted chemicals ($1300 to $1820 per year to be exact).
Keep It Simple
Usually the simple answers are the correct ones. Enter the tried and true habit of eating real food. Keeping most of your food intake in the “real” category will not only treat your body better but will also keep you out of the poorhouse. All you need is a little planning and creativity and you will quickly be on your way to a stress-free, effective pre-workout meal plan.
Below are 8 small, convenient pre-workout meals with little to no prep required. Designed for the busy-type (9 to 5 worker or college student) these meals are tasty, mobile options for anyone. Complete protein, complex carbs, low sugar and healthy fats are on the menu to stave off hunger pangs and power up your workouts.
1. Oats and Peanut Butter
Calories: 360, Protein: 12g, Carbs: 33g, Fat: 19g
One of the absolute easiest things to do is just dump a couple of ingredients together and stir. For this complex carbohydrate and healthy fat combo combine ½ cup of oats with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter or other nut butter into a bowl. You can also add some cinnamon for added taste. Easy, tasty and healthy.
2. Greek Yogurt, Fruit and Nuts
Calories: 310, Protein: 27g, Carbs: 20g, Fat: 13g
Another no-thought-required snack is 1 cup of Greek yogurt topped with a few mixed berries and 1 ounce of nuts. The yogurt provides the protein, the berries add in some anti-oxidant-rich carbs and the nuts kick in some healthy fat providing a very balanced pre workout snack to help you through your training ahead.
3. Hard-Boiled Eggs and Whole Wheat Bread
Calories: 300, Protein: 20g, Carbs: 25g, Fat: 11g
Okay, so this one will require you to boil an egg or two. A couple of hard-boiled eggs provide protein and healthy testosterone supporting fats and whole wheat bread (or you can use Ezekiel bread) gives you complex carbs for sustained energy. Very portable, not too complicated.
4. Oats and Whey Mix
Calories: 250, Protein: 25g, Carbs: 32g, Fat: 4g
Yes, oats again! Combining ½ cup of oats with water and a scoop of whey protein is a great way to get both ingredients in one shot. It will require a microwave but it’s yet another example of a simple pre workout snack with no separate trip to the specialty grocery store needed.
5. Cottage Cheese and Fruit
Calories: 265, Protein: 28g, Carbs: 31g, Fat: 2g
With all the attention lately on Greek yogurt cottage cheese has taken a backseat. Low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese contains the coveted protein superstar casein. 1 cup combined with a serving of pears, peaches, strawberries or other fruit of choice completes this powerhouse pre-workout snack.
6. Apple and Whey
Calories: 165, Protein: 20g, Carbs: 22g, Fat: 1g
You can’t get any simpler than a good-ole fashioned apple and a serving of whey protein powder mixed in water. An apple provides a myriad of health benefits including compounds that actually help you burn fat along with complex carbs and a shot of fiber. Of course, it goes without mentioning whey protein’s superior amino acid profile including plenty of muscle-building leucine.
7. Banana and Natural Nut Butter
Calories: 310, Protein: 8g, Carbs: 33g, Fat: 16g
The fruit trend continues with arguably the world’s perfect food and a healthy dose of fats and protein. Another convenient and portable snack requiring no complicated formula of foreign foods, bananas are nutrient dense, easy to eat and digest quickly. Try a few different nut butters but be sure to keep the serving to about two tablespoons.
8. Greek Yogurt, Milk, and Oats Topped With Fruit
Calories: 330, Protein: 26g, Carbs: 32g, Fat: 2g
If you give it a little forethought you’ll be happy to take some time and prep this snack the night before. Take one cup of Greek yogurt, ¼ cup of skim milk, ¼ cup of oats and top with fruit. Stir and refrigerate overnight. You may want to adjust for thickness but this is one tasty way to get in some pre-workout nutrition.
What about the classic PB&J in whole wheat bread? Squeeze in some sliced bananas and you're good to go!
That is my go-to!