I have a few questions about eating that everyone has answered differently on the internet so I can’t decide what to do.
Firstly, what you recommend as a snack before a workout?
Also would you recommend eating dinner before or after the workout?
I normally do around 40 minutes of cardio if I’m at home/ an extra 30 mins on the weight machines if I’m at the gym and I get exhausted if I don’t eat, but I don’t want to eat too much.
If after, how long after and what food would you recommend?
Thank you so much for your time!!!
– Caitlan L.
If you’ve eaten within 2-3 hours you may not need a snack provided you had a substantial meal. If on the other hand your cardio is at 6 pm and you’ve only eaten a light lunch at noon, then you’ll definitely need a snack around 4 pm, especially if you are doing the extended workout at the gym.
Easily digested carbohydrates are best tolerated before physical activity and they provide the energy working muscles need. Among them are non-bran cereals, graham crackers, pretzels, bananas, natural applesauce, traditional yogurt and malted milk to name a few. A little protein helps to lock in the carbohydrates so they sustain you longer. For example, hummus with baked pita chips or a string cheese with a pear.
You can go for dinner afterward for a couple of reasons. First, getting a full meal may induce a slight lethargy while you digest, aka ‘food coma,’ which may impact exercise. Second, sitting down for dinner may mean that you’ll be unmotivated to get moving as you wind down your day. If you tackle your exercise earlier you also get the added boost of a slightly higher metabolism for the evening hours. Eat dinner as soon as possible after.
What you choose for your final meal isn’t so much dependent on your workout as what you’ve missed earlier in the day. Evening is the time to make up for a lack of nutrition in previous meals. For some it may be beans, or vegetables, or seafood, or dairy… What is it for you? One way to have a speedy dinner is to have leftovers handy and ready to heat up. Another is an all-in-one dish such as a stir fry where all the ingredients are precut in a container (meat separate) and sauce is prepared. One standby at our house is a cold pasta salad with red onion, cherry tomato, peas, tuna, vinaigrette, herbs, and pepper. Mixed in the morning, it’s easy to grab and eat at night.
Check out this previously answered for more great info!
– Debbie J., MS, RD
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