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Fueling Your Sweat Sessions with the Right Pre-Workout Foods

best-pre-post-workout-foods-585Are you getting to the gym but not feeling like you have tons of energy while you’re there? Having a tough time recovering from workouts? Maybe you’re not just out of shape! You might not be eating the right pre- and post-workout foods to fuel you properly. It’s easy for moms to put their nutrition needs on the back burner, so check out registered dietitian and Fitness advisory board member Dawn Jackson Blatner’s tips on what to eat to fuel your workouts! She says these natural performance-enhancing foods will energize your fitness routine and speed up your recovery to feel great and get the results you want. And who doesn’t want that? —Erin

Best Pre-Workout Foods…

Bananas. For a steady, long-lasting supply of energy, eat a banana right before you hit the gym. It contains 25 grams of carbohydrates, your body’s preferred fuel source for exercise. Bonus: You’ll also get a good dose of potassium, a key electrolyte that’s lost through sweat.

Raisins. A new study shows that raisins work just as well as sports gels to fuel your muscles pre-exercise. Aim for two tablespoons—or about 30 to 40 raisins.

Pomegranate juice. Healthy compounds in pomegranate juice called polyphenols may help decrease muscle soreness, a recent study found. Drink four to eight ounces daily. Choose one that’s 100-percent juice, like POM Wonderful.

Green tea. This healthy brew contains catechins, substances that may increase fat-burning during exercise, according to research. Drink eight to 16 ounces of hot or iced tea before heading to your session.

Best Post-Workout Foods…

Tuna sandwich. Your body’s best exercise recovery combo is protein to repair muscles and carbs to replenish energy stores. Protein-rich tuna on whole-grain bread is the perfect post-workout pick-me-up. Bonus: The healthy omega 3 fats in tuna may also decrease muscle soreness. Try single serve, no-drain StarKist pouches. Most are 100 calories or less.

Yogurt. Dairy foods such as yogurt are naturally rich in protein and carbs. For extra credit, choose 2-percent fat yogurt—it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may accelerate fat burning. Try plain 2-percent fat yogurt, such as Chobani or Stonyfield. Add a teaspoon of honey for sweetness.

Tart cherries. A compound in tart cherries called anthocyanin may reduce muscle soreness and inflammation. Aim for 1/2 to 1 cup of the unsweetened frozen fruit or 100-percent juice.

A green smoothie. A new study shows that a healthy compound in leafy green vegetables helps muscles work more efficiently. In a blender, puree 1 cup of leafy greens such as spinach, 8 ounces of lowfat milk and 1/2 cup frozen berries and enjoy it after vigorous exercise sessions.

Don’t forget to drink water! Without proper hydration, you’ll fatigue faster and increase your risk of injury. Aim to drink about 8 to 16 ounces during a 30-minute workout. Dawn Jackson Blatner

What are your favorite snacks before and after workouts? Share ’em! 

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