Many people consider breakfast the most important meal of the day, but for those who include physical exercise in their routine, pre– and post-workout foods can also be important. Everyone’s nutritional requirements are different depending on their goals and activities, so these snacks can offer the right balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein to satisfy hunger, fuel workouts, and aid in recovery.

Breakfast parfait made from Greek yogurt and granola topped with fresh berries.

Pre-Workout Snacks

The body works to build muscle and recover 24 hours a day, not just during that one-hour session at the gym. Luckily, smartly timed snacks can give the body the fuel it needs to gain muscle, burn fat, and recover as best it can. Grabbing a snack about 30-60 minutes in advance  depends on its size and contents, and how much that stomach’s actually grumbling.

  1. Perfect yogurt parfait with grain cereal and fresh strawberries
  2. Protein Creamcicle, a twist on the classic kids’ treat by blending 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 1 cup orange juice, and 1 cup ice
  3. Cha-Cha coconut shake, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein with 2 teaspoons of extra virgin coconut oil
  4. Star-buffs shake, blend 1 cup iced coffee with 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
  5. Dressed up oats, ½ cup cooked steel-cut oats topped with 1 tablespoon dried fruit and 1 tablespoon shaved almonds
  6. Fruitsation shake, 1 scoop of your favorite whey protein flavor with ½ cup ice, and 1 cup frozen berries
  7. Yoberries a-go-go, 1 cup non-fat vanilla bean Greek yogurt with ½ cup fresh blueberries
  8. PB Apple, 1 medium apple with 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter
  9. Classic fruit cup, 1 cup berries, melon, banana, and oranges
  10. Dried fruit, ¼ cup serving of dried berries, apricots, and pineapple
  11. Eggs n’ toast, 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs with 1 slice of whole-wheat toast
  12. Fruit leather, 1 single serving of fruit leather
  13. Energy in a bar
  14. Chicken n’ sweets, 4 ounces of sliced chicken with an equal portion size of sweet potatoes
  15. Oats n’ eggs, ½ cup cooked oatmeal and 2 whole eggs seasoned with salt and pepper
  16. PB & B toast, 1-2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter and half a sliced banana on whole-wheat toast
  17. Turk-cado pasta, 2-4 ounces (or a palm-sized amount) of roasted turkey and 3-4 avocado slices to ½ cup cooked whole-wheat pasta
  18. Wafflewich, 1 frozen Kashi waffle with 2 teaspoons of almond butter and 1 teaspoon of jam
  19. Better than a PB Cup, a half-cup cooked oats with 1 teaspoon defatted peanut flour, a dash of stevia, and a sprinkling of cocoa powder
  20. Veggie omelet, 2 whole eggs shaken with 1 teaspoon of water cooked with 1 cup sautéed seasonal veggies
  21. Fruit & Cottage, ½ cup cottage cheese with ½ cup fresh pineapple, berries, or melon
  22. Rice con leche, ½ cup cooked rice, covered with ½ cup milk, a scatter of raisins, and a dash of cinnamon on top
  23. Sports drink
  24. Hearty salad, 1 cup of salad greens with assorted veggies, 1 hardboiled egg, and a drizzle of EVOO and vinegar, or your favorite low-fat dressing
  25. Energy gel

Post-Workout Snacks

  1. Choco-tropical trail mix, ½ a handful of each: macadamia nuts, dried coconut, dark chocolate chips, and banana chips
  2. Protein pancakes, mix 4 egg whites, ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup low fat cottage cheese, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Cook on preheated griddle (medium low heat) until it bubbles, then flip and cook another 30-60 seconds. Top with fresh berries or sliced banana
  3. Sweet potato pie shake, 1 scoop of cinnamon bun whey protein, ¼ cup diced cooked sweet potato, 1 cup of ice, and 1 cup vanilla almond milk in the blender
  4. Chunky Monkey shake, 1 medium banana, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, and 1 cup low-fat chocolate milk blended with ice
  5. Double G shake, 8-ounce greens drink with 1 scoop of glutamine
  6. Double Trouble shake, combine ½ scoop of whey protein blended with ½ scoop slower-digesting casein protein, plus a handful of your favorite fresh or frozen fruit
  7. Bananarama, One medium sliced banana with 1 cup low fat milk
  8. Green Monster smoothie, Blend 4 cups spinach, ½ cup vanilla bean yogurt, 1 cup almond milk, 1 banana, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter with ice
  9. Protein bar,
  10. Beef and squash, a handful of lean roast beef with an equal portion of butternut squash
  11. Tuna crackers, add two heaping spoonfuls to a handful of whole grain crackers
  12. Bagel with egg whites, Half a medium-sized whole grain bagel with 2 eggs
  13. Ants on a raft, Spread a heap of natural peanut butter over a brown rice cake and top with raisins
  14. Milk and cereal.
  15. Apples and cheese.
  16. Chocolate milk.
  17. Black bean omelet, 1 ounce low-fat cheese, and ¼ cup canned black beans spice it up with a savory salsa
  18. Cottage cheese crunch, One cup fat-free cottage cheese, 1 teaspoon honey, ½ cup whole-grain cereal, and a dash of cinnamon does a body good
  19. Eggy muffinwich, 1 whole egg, fresh spinach, 1 slice low fat cheese, and 1 slice Canadian bacon served on an English muffin
  20. BCAA n’ cakes.
  21. AB & J Rice Cakes
  22. Recovery in a bottle
  23. Pita and hummus, One 7-inch pita with two spoonfuls of hummus adds a little pep
  24. Egg scramble, 2-3 whole eggs scrambled with a handful of chopped onion, spinach, and bell peppers
  25. Chicken hash, ½ cup butternut squash and apples, roasted in olive oil, salt, and pepper.