5 Healthy Snacks You Should Eat Before a Workout

How many times have you showed up at the gym only to be distracted by an all-consuming hunger? Not only does the intensity of your workout suffer, but you may spend your workout focused on all the things you’re going to ingest the second you leave. Without fueling properly before your sweat session, your blood sugar will drop, leading to light-headedness and fatigue. Better pre-exercise nutrition means a better workout and better results.

Instead of noshing on whatever sounds good or is most convenient, go for a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. These five snacks will do the trick.

1. Fruit and yogurt smoothie

berry smoothie on a table

A fruit and yogurt smoothie is the perfect snack to fuel your workout. | iStock.com

If you like to exercise in the morning, this smoothie can double as a snack and breakfast — just make it slightly larger by bulking up the ingredients. Refrigerate the remainder to make a grab-and-go breakfast once you get back from your workout. To make this fiber- and protein-rich snack from Men’s Fitness, grab your blender and toss in 6 ounces of Greek yogurt, 1 cup of raspberries, ½ cup of nonfat milk, and ½ cup of ice cubes. If you use frozen raspberries, you can skip the ice cubes. The Greek yogurt is rich with protein and probiotics that contain good-for-you bacteria to help you better absorb nutrients. Plus, the raspberries are full of fiber and low in calories.

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal in a bowl

Oatmeal is the perfect morning workout fuel. | iStock.com

For another pre-workout snack that is geared towards morning workout devotees, a serving of standard oatmeal is a great choice. Oats are full of fiber, which means they gradually release carbohydrates into your bloodstream. According to Men’s Fitness, this helps keep your energy levels consistent throughout your workout. The story also mentioned that the hot cereal contains B vitamins, which help convert carbs into energy. For some extra flavor, sprinkle with cinnamon or top with fresh berries.

3. Dried fruit

Dried fruit

Take dried fruit with you wherever you go for a quick pre-workout snack. | iStock.com

This snack is easy to transport and requires no time to prepare. Arm yourself with a baggie or plastic storage container filled with a ¼-cup serving of dried fruit and munch away as you head to the gym. Feel free to pack your favorites, but Greatist recommends a mix of dried berries, apricots, and pineapple for a healthy snack. To cut down on sugar, look for dried fruit varieties that are devoid of added sugar because most are sweet enough on their own. You could even opt for a natural fruit leather. 

4. Apple and nut butter

Red apples in wooden bowl

Try putting your favorite nut butter on an apple for a quick and healthy snack. | iStock.com

This delicious duo is as easy to prepare as it is easy to pack in your gym bag. Stock up on your favorite variety of apple and a jar of your favorite nut butter (try almond for a satisfying change). Smear a tablespoon of the nut butter on your sliced apple, then get snacking. The apple provides your body with some natural pre-workout sugar to give you a quick jolt of energy and also provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, says Men’s Health. The nut butter will keep you full and amp up your energy levels.

5. Banana

Bunch of bananas

If you have to grab a snack as quick as possible, reach for a banana. | iStock.com

When you’re in a pinch, there’s no snack easier to find than a banana. They’re easy to stow in your gym bag and are packed with high-quality, complex carbohydrates, which provide your body with some needed energy before a workout. Everyday Health notes that not only does this wonder fruit have healthy carbs, but it’s rich in potassium, which can prevent muscle cramps during exercise.