Smartly timed snacks can give the body the fuel it needs to build muscle, burn fat, and recover as best it can. If you prefer to eat before exercising, or if your workout will last longer than an hour, Seebohar suggests grabbing a snack about 45 to 60 minutes in advance and keeping it small (think a palmful of carbs, a half palmful of protein, and a quarter palmful of fat). Find what works for you by trying one of these 25 options.
Best Pre-Workout Snacks
Rice Cakes With Almond Butter
If you’re gluten-free or just not big on toast, this is a great way to get your nut-butter snack in while adding healthy carbs to power you through. Plus, rice cakes don’t go stale as quickly as bread, so you can always keep a pack on hand.
Almond Butter Banana and Coconut Energy Bowl
By mashing up an egg and a banana, and topping them with apples, almond butter, and coconut, you’ll get a grain-free oatmeal of sorts. This is a great one to make the night before and eat in a travel cup on your way to your favorite morning cardio class.
Perfect Yogurt Parfait
A parfait sounds fancy, but it’ll only take you three minutes to throw together this combo of 2 percent or full-fat yogurt, granola, and berries. Pro tip: You can make this in a disposable cup and eat it with a plastic spoon on the way to your morning workout.
Almond Coconut Mocha Smoothie
We love smoothies, but first—coffee. This recipe combines both. It’s perfect for an early-morning workout since the hit of caffeine will perk you up before you hit the gym.
Oats are a classic morning staple, but if you don’t want to clean up a pot before rushing to the gym in the morning, try this one as an afternoon snack. The recipe serves two, but we suggest dividing it into three portions and refrigerating the remaining two for smaller snack-size servings.
Blueberry Banana Protein Smoothie
It doesn’t get much easier than blueberries, bananas, yogurt, almond milk, and ice. Just be sure to swap out the suggested nonfat yogurt for a partial- or full-fat version— it’ll give you more fuel to crush your workout.
Banana Bread Greek Yogurt Parfait
This banana bread-inspired parfait is not nearly as complicated as baking up a sweet treat. You can pre-make a few and then pop them in the fridge for a grab-and-go snack on busy days.
Apple Peanut Butter Energy Bites
The classic apple-and-peanut-butter combo gets an upgrade from raisins and chia seeds. If you’re in a rush, skip the extras and just grab an apple with PB. Try stashing some to-go packs of peanut butter or almond butter in your gym bag so you can chow down on your way to indoor cycling class.
Mocha Protein Shake
Protein shakes can taste chalky boring, but when there’s coffee and chocolate involved, we’re big fans. This blogger suggests adding an extra tablespoon of sugar, but we’d suggest skipping it for an even healthier (and easier!) recipe.
Fresh Strawberry Parfait With Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese gives this parfait a light and creamy texture and adds a little extra fat, which will keep you feeling satisfied longer. It’s the perfect use-what-you-already-have-in-your-fridge kind of snacks.
5-Minute Protein Peanut Butter Energy Balls
Make these DIY no-bake peanut butter balls ahead of time, and you’ll have some healthy treats ready to fuel a week’s worth of sweat sessions. Seem like too much effort? Grab a box of your favorite bars (we love CLIF Bar’s new nut butter-filled ones), cut in thirds, and then roll into balls for smaller bites.
Hard-Boiled Egg Avo Toast
Avo toast never fails. When you have a heartier appetite, try this pre-workout version and add a hard-boiled (or fried) egg on top for added protein. There are a lot of ways to get fancy here, but we’re big fans of this classic combo before a morning run. It’s the perfect use-what-you-already-have-in-your-fridge kind of snacks.
Homemade Apricot and Almond Energy Bars
If you have time on your hands, mix up these DIY energy bars and stash the extras for later. All you’ll need for this no-bake recipe are a food processor and a few ingredients. Short on time? Stock up on some store-bought bars with high-quality ingredients and a 1:1 or 2:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio (in other words, look for 10 grams of carbs and 10 or 20 grams of protein), Seebohar says.
Peanut Butter and Banana Chia Seed Toast
PB and banana is the perfect on-the-go snack. For a longer workout, spread both on one slice of whole-wheat toast and add a sprinkle of chia seeds to make this recipe even prettier better.
Leftover Meal Prep Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Green Beans
Getting in some fuel for your workout can be as easy as heating up a small portion of leftovers from the night before. Try making an easy meal-prep combo like this chipotle chicken, sweet potato, and green bean dish then setting aside a snack-size amount for an afternoon snack.
Turkey Avocado Wrap
A wrap may sound like a meal, but this mini version is the perfect size for a pre-workout bite. The gluten-free “wrap” is actually just turkey wrapped around some avocado with shredded carrot for added crunch. It’s the perfect use-what-you-already-have-in-your-fridge kind of snacks.