This article was originally written by Kimberly Olson, PhD, and first appeared on yogalifestyles.com.

Have you ever found yourself light-headed during your yoga practice or nauseous because you ate too much before your workout? Knowing how to properly nourish your body and making sure you’ve fueled appropriately for exercise can allow you to have sustained energy, optimal performance, and even improved recovery. There are three components to consider when it comes to the best snack foods before Yoga: timing, quantity, and quality.

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Timing

You’ll have to experiment with this on your own as everyone is different, but I recommend consuming your pre-workout snack 30 minutes to up to two hours before your meal depending on the intensity. It would probably be fine to go as long as two hours without eating before doing one series of sun salutations but not a good idea if you’re going to do 90 minutes of Bikram yoga.

Size of Snack

The size of the snack will also be determined by the type of yoga you will be doing as well as the magnitude of your practice that day. You obviously want to eat enough so that you can get through your workout with enough energy from start to finish, but not so much that you feel sluggish or have an upset stomach. I don’t have a hard and fast rule for a number of calories, because this varies so widely based on gender, age, height, weight, etc. Just play around with some of the suggestions I have below and eventually, you’ll develop a handful of go-to snacks that you can consume before exercising.

Quality

And lastly, but probably most importantly, consider the quality of your pre-workout snacks. I like to recommend foods high in carbohydrates and protein with a little bit of healthy fat. Carbohydrates provide energy essential during exercise while protein is vital for muscle building and repair. And of course, remember to hydrate properly as well. Drinking extra water before, during and after is always a wise decision and you can even make your own energy drink for an added benefit (see recipe below).
Here are some snack ideas and recipes you can try before your next session of Yoga:

  • Granola or oatmeal with milk and fresh fruit
  • A delicious smoothie (my personal favorite is below)
  • Nuts and dried fruit (try the DIY recipe below)
  • ½ a tuna sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes
  • Greek yogurt with fruit and/or nuts
  • Hard-boiled egg and 1/2 tomato seasoned with salt & pepper
  • Apple or banana with any nut butter
  • Veggie sticks and hummus

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

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Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Protein Powder (I used chocolate)
  • ⅔ cup fresh or frozen Strawberries*
  • ½ fresh or frozen Banana
  • A few Ice Cubes
  • Water as desired

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30-45 seconds.

Trail Mix

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Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup each of Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, and Walnuts (or any other nuts)
  • ¼ cup Sunflower Seeds or Pumpkin Seeds
  • ¼ cup dried Cranberries or Raisins*
  • ¼ cup Chocolate Chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients and place in a zip lock bag.

No-bake Granola Bars

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Dates, pitted and either chopped or pulsed in a blender
  • 1 ½ cups rolled Oats
  • 1 cup Almonds, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Nut Butter (I used almond butter)
  • ¼ cup Honey (can sub with Yacon, Maple Syrup or Agave)

Note: Be your own chef and add dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, chia seeds, etc.

Directions:

  1. Warm almond butter and honey in a saucepan and melt over low heat.
  2. Pour mixture over oats, dates and almonds and stir together, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Transfer to a small dish lined with parchment paper and press to evenly flatten.
  4. Cover and chill in fridge for at least 15 minutes. Cut into 10 bars and store in either the fridge for a few days or the freezer for even longer.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Apples, quartered
  • ½” Ginger Root, halved
  • 24 oz. Coconut Water

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and strain liquid into a bowl. Discard solids.
Images: Yoga Lifestyles.

 

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