7 Foods You Should Be Eating Before a Workout (and 4 You Shouldn't) Slideshow

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The list will surprise you
Dark Leafy Greens

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2 Hours Before a Workout: Eat Chickpeas

2 Hours Before a Workout: Eat Chickpeas

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Chickpeas are easy to prepare and provide the body with a nice balance of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. Drizzle lemon juice over a half-cup of drained chickpeas a couple hours before a workout for a sustained source of energy.

Click here for easy chickpea recipes.

2 Hours Before a Workout: Eat Hard-Boiled Eggs

2 Hours Before a Workout: Eat Hard-Boiled Eggs

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Eggs are a nutritionally balanced, low-calorie food: The egg whites provide protein, while the yolk supplies vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Pre-workout protein helps to improve muscle performance and recovery.

To cook and peel hard-boiled eggs perfectly every time, click here.

1 Hour Before a Workout: Eat Peanut a Butter Banana Sandwich on Whole-Wheat Bread

1 Hour Before a Workout: Eat Peanut a Butter Banana Sandwich on Whole-Wheat Bread

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This is the ideal snack for anyone preparing to exercise for over an hour. This sandwich is around 360 calories, and all the ingredients provide carbohydrates for energy, while the peanut butter offers unsaturated fats that are used for long-term fuel. The potassium in bananas also helps runners avoid cramping.

Click here for the nine healthiest peanut butter brands.

1 Hour Before a Workout: Eat Oats With Strawberries

1 Hour Before a Workout: Eat Oats With Strawberries

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A pre-workout meal of oatmeal and strawberries provides the body with a perfect balance of nutrients. Oatmeal is especially beneficial for long-distance runs because it sticks to your stomach without making you feel bloated. The amount of fiber in oatmeal allows for the slow release if carbohydrates into the bloodstream without making you gassy.

Click here for 10 ways to spice up your morning oatmeal.

30 Minutes Before a Workout: Eat an Orange

30 Minutes Before a Workout: Eat an Orange

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One orange is only 62 calories, which is enough to subdue a grumbling stomach before a run. Orange’s high concentration of vitamin C replaces collagen in muscle fibers that are broken down during exercise.

Oranges are also one of the seven most nutritious fruits you can eat.

30 Minutes Before a Workout: Eat a Handful of Raisins

30 Minutes Before a Workout: Eat a Handful of Raisins

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Raisins are easy to digest and give the body a quick hit of sugar. University of California, Davis researchers found that runners who ate raisins before running a 5K raced faster, on average, than the control group that only drank water. Dried fruits are also the perfect foods to eat before yoga.

30 Minutes Before a Workout: Applesauce

30 Minutes Before a Workout: Applesauce

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It’s not always the most nutritious foods that are best to eat before a workout. Applesauce is low in fiber, but it delivers around 30 grams of carbohydrates per cup.

Click here for the best applesauce recipes.

Avoid Before a Workout: Dark Leafy Greens

Avoid Before a Workout: Dark Leafy Greens

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Dark leafy greens are nutritious and will keep you alert and focused, but they aren’t the best foods to eat before a workout. Kale, mustard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard are fibrous and difficult to digest, and may lead to bloating and abdominal discomfort.

Avoid Before a Workout: Spicy Foods

Avoid Before a Workout: Spicy Foods

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Spicy foods should be avoided before exercising because they can lead to increased cramping, indigestion, and heartburn. Bland foods won’t stimulate your appetite, but they also won’t lead to painful post-workout indigestion.

For the world’s 11 spiciest foods, click here.  

Avoid Before a Workout: Beans

Avoid Before a Workout: Beans

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Beans are an ideal vegetarian protein source, but eating them to close to your workout will fill your stomach up with indigestible fiber. Save a meal of beans for after you exercise.

Avoid Before a Workout: Cruciferous Vegetables

Avoid Before a Workout: Cruciferous Vegetables

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Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are important vegetables to include in your diet, but they will wreak havoc on you while you exercise. These vegetables are also high in raffinose, an indigestible carbohydrate that can trigger abdominal bloating and excessive gas.