Do you find yourself losing steam halfway through your workout or wrapping up a gym session feeling completely wiped out? Your pre-workout snack might be to blame. See, what you chow down on before exercising not only helps fuel your body to keep you motivated throughout your workout, but it also assists in both your lean muscle gains and muscle recovery afterward.
That’s why these 25 pre-workout snack options are so awesome. Nibble on these 30–60 minutes before a workout for a major energy boost — plus the balance of carbs, protein and good-for-you fats will power you through your favorite fat-burning activities.
Need Energy? Try These 25 Pre-Workout Snacks
Skip the coffee, and opt for these energy bars instead. Dates give these bars a sweet taste sans sugar while flaxseed, chia and hemp seeds pack in fiber and protein. The result is a portable snack that keeps you going for hours.
Give your a.m. workout a boost with these tasty little muffins. With no oil, a natural sweetness from applesauce, and loads of fiber and protein thanks to oats and yogurt, you might find yourself scarfing these down throughout the day, too.
Omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber are all present in this super-simple recipe that lets the natural flavors of avocado and tomatoes shine. And because it requires no cooking, it’s a great pre-workout snack to eat at work before a mid-day workout.
Can something with no grains, gluten or sugar still be delicious? The verdict after trying this banana chia recipe is a resounding “yes.” These little bites are made with healthy coconut flour, brain-boosting chia seeds and naturally sweet bananas. Make a batch and enjoy throughout the week.
Harry Potter fans, take note: This pre-workout snack was inspired by the wizard’s favorite drink. There’s no beer in these bites, but they do offer a hearty dose of protein, fiber and butterscotch chips. It’s a combo muggles and wizards alike will love.
Putting a new twist on pre-workout snacks, these quinoa bites have a carrot cake flavor, but their ingredients confirm their status as a healthy treat. These bites read like a roll call list for protein and fiber: quinoa, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, hemp seeds and protein powder all make appearances. They’re topped with a coconut butter-based homemade frosting that helps make them lip-smacking good.
Get over your afternoon slump and get an energy boost with this pre-workout snack. With just a handful of natural ingredients, these crunchy bites satisfy your sweet tooth while providing protein and healthy fats. The secret stars are the cacao nibs, which give these a chocolately taste.
Six ingredients for a vegan pudding that provides an energy boost? Believe it. This cool treat gets its creaminess from avocado and its Girl Scout cookie flavor from unsweetened cocoa and peppermint extract. If you’re not vegan, opt for dairy yogurt for even more protein.
This convenient roasted pre-workout snack gives your favorite nuts a boost of cinnamon. You’ll love the extra spice this heart-healthy option gives. Just be sure to skip the canola oil and choose the grapeseed oil instead.
These deliciously juicy energy snacks are just what the doctor ordered. Lemons add a refreshing flavor while chia seeds and almonds throw in a protein kick to this raw, no-cook recipe — take these on the go!
11. Fit Fat Bombs
Get a major energy boost for intense workouts with these fat bombs. Fear not — you won’t pack on the pounds with this snack, but you will get your healthy fats in, courtesy of coconut oil, coconut flour and raisins.
Still afraid of cooking with kale? Try adding it to a smoothie you can sip on the run. This filling concoction combines avocado, kefir and maple syrup with the leafy green for a drink loaded with protein, fiber, potassium and vitamins.
13. Healthy Cookies
Healthy cookies aren’t an oxymoron when they’re made out of fresh, healthy ingredients like raw oats, coconut flakes, applesauce and flaxseeds. The addition of dried fruits lend some chewiness — I love using cherries and raisins. Skip the peanut butter, and replace it with your favorite nut butter or skip it altogether.
Hemp isn’t just for hippies — it’s a major source of natural protein. These truffle balls taste decadent, but with only six super healthy ingredients, you can be sure it’s a nutritious way to keep going through workouts.
Dates and nuts and seeds, oh my! These vegan snack bars require no baking, making it easy to whip up a few batches and eat them throughout the week to turn up energy levels. They’re also easy to customize; add your favorite nuts, or add extra chocolate chips for sweet teeth.
This “egg-cellent” salad might surpass your usual recipe as a new family favorite. It passes on mayonnaise in favor of creamy, heart-healthy avocado and is loaded with protein from eggs and yogurt. Throw in a few apples and seasonings (don’t skip the paprika!) and you’ve got an awesome pre-workout snack that lasts for several workouts.
17. Paleo Bagels
What’s better than a fresh bagel? A gluten- and grain-free homemade one! This crispy version uses a variety of seeds, eggs, coconut flour and ghee for a bagel made with real food ingredients. Slather on fresh hummus or your favorite nut butter for extra protein. These will keep in the fridge for about three days; after that, freeze any extras.
Photo: Paleo Bagels / Savory Lotus
Are you a recovering Reese’s addict? Then these protein cups will blow your mind. They’re the perfect treat to energize and prep your body for a workout. And with ingredients like almonds, protein powder, almond butter, coconut oil and raw honey, they make an excellent pre-workout snack. Hide these from the rest of the family — they’ll go quickly!
These bites combine the rich, chocolate taste of brownies with the health benefits of nuts and dates for a quick snack any time of day. When you want something that tastes good and is good for you, these can’t be beat.
Photo: Raw Brownie Bites / Dr. Axe
Not only are these bites a fun color, they’re good for you, too. Pistachios lend a satisfying crunch along with key limes add zest. These come together quickly for a refreshing per-workout snack.
21. Spirulina Balls
This healthy pudding is a great morning option to eat before hitting the gym. Chia seeds give that extra push you need to sweat it out — plus, along with hemp and spirulina, a whole lot of protein.
Make like you’re on vacation with this island-inspired smoothie. It’s light enough to not weigh you down but full of potassium, antioxidants and calcium, perfect for quickie workouts. No spinach on hand? Sub in another leafy green like kale or Swiss chard instead!
When you have zero time, this pre-workout snack saves the day. Top brown rice cakes with almond butter, cinnamon and banana, and eat. So easy and just enough nutrients to give you an energy boost that’ll power you right through.
These seafood-free, raw “sushi rolls” are packed with fresh veggies to give you an antioxidant boost, while the accompanying avocado pesto adds an extra helping of nutrients and protein. They’re a light and easy option you’ll love before starting an after-work session.