The best foods to eat before and after a workout

A protein shake made with half a banana, one scoop of protein powder, almond milk and hemp seeds is a good after-workout meal, says athlete Nora Tobin. (Courtesy

WASHINGTON – For those who want to kick start their day with exercise, experts say it’s important to eat the right foods before and after working out.

Research shows the body burns the same amount of fat if you eat, or if you don’t before exercise. But regularly working out on an empty stomach can cause muscle loss, according to Shape Magazine.

Athlete and GNC ambassador Nora Tobin suggests these pre-workout bites that contain some form of complex carbohydrate and protein.

  • Brown rice (1/2 cup) with black beans (1/2 cup)
  • Small sweet potato with steamed or lightly salted broccoli in olive oil (1 cup)
  • Banana with almond butter (2 Tbsp)
  • Multi-grain crackers(10) with hummus (3 Tbsp)
  • Oatmeal (1/2 cup) with berries (1 cup), sweetened with stevia or agave
  • Apple and walnuts (1/4 cup)

While eating before a workout will provide an energy boost, eating afterward is important as well, Tobin says. After exercise, muscles are deprived of fuel, known as glycogen. Eating or drinking something that combines protein and carbohydrates 30 minutes after a workout refills those energy stores, repairs muscles, and helps keep the metabolism strong.

After a workout, Tobin says the best foods to eat or drink are:

  • Protein shake made with half a banana, one scoop of protein powder, almond milk and hemp seeds
  • Salad with roasted chickpeas (1/2 cup,) light olive oil and vinegar
  • Sauteed or steamed vegetables (1 cup) with tofu (1/2 cup)
  • Quinoa bowl (1 cup) with black berries (1 cup) and pecans (1/4 cup)
  • Multi-grain bread (2 slices) with raw peanut butter (2 Tbsp) and agave nectar
  • Burrito with beans (1/2 cup), brown rice (1/2 cup), guacamole (2 Tbsp), and salsa

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