7 Healthy Snacks to Fuel Your Post-Thanksgiving Workout

Fitness Tips

7 Healthy Snacks to Fuel Your Post-Thanksgiving Workout

After all the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes during your Thanksgiving feast, the day after means it's time to get back on the fitness horse.

When getting ready to work out, no matter what day of the year, it's always best to eat a healthy snack that will give you sustained energy to get the most out of your efforts. The key to having sustained energy is to keep your blood sugar stable, which is done by creating snacks with a balance of the three macro-nutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

And even if you still feel full from Thanksgiving, remember that skipping meals is never a good idea. When you skip a meal, your blood sugar drops, forcing your body to burn lean muscle instead of fat and lowering your energy. Instead, with a snack that combines fat, protein, and carbohydrates, you'll be able to push your pace without feeling weighed down or sluggish.

Creating a Balanced Snack

For your carbohydrates, choose a mix of complex and simple carbs. Simple carbs burn off quickly and give you a burst of energy, while the complex carbs, such as whole grains and oatmeal, break down more slowly giving you sustained energy. Avoid anything heavy in refined sugar, and choose low-fiber carbs to keep you from feeling too full.

Add in a small serving of lean protein and healthy fat, meaning the type of fat you find in olive oil, fish, avocados, and seeds. Protein aids in muscle repair, and fat provides a lot of energy. Fat is used more in longer, low-intensity workouts, but it also helps your body access stored carbs for short, high-intensity workouts.

Pre-workout Snacks

Here are a few ideas for pre-workout snacks. Choose how much or how little to eat based on the intensity and duration of your activity.

Avocado deviled egg

Remove the yolk of a hard-boiled egg. Add in a small spoonful of mashed avocado and a dash of lime juice. Sprinkle in a bit of cilantro for more flavor. Serve with whole-grain toast or an English muffin.

Oatmeal

Always an easy go-to workout snack, oatmeal with nuts and berries helps you get your macro-nutrient mix. If you're planning an intense or long workout, also stir in egg whites or nut butter.

Greek yogurt parfait

Another classic. Start with plain, low-fat Greek yogurt, then add in granola, some berries or banana slices and a dash of pumpkin seeds.

Butter toast

Nut butter, that is. Spread your favorite nut butter on whole grain toast with a sliced banana. Add a dash of cinnamon to spice it up.

Protein shake

Protein shakes are great snacks for when you're on the go. Add protein powder, plain, low-fat Greek yogurt and fruit. Look for a quality protein powder, with few preservatives or added ingredients and low sugar. If you don't want dairy, try an egg white or pea protein powder.

Sweet potato

Bake the sweet potato and add a little honey or cinnamon. Pair it with a lean protein such as cottage cheese or a few strips of grilled chicken, or top with chopped pecans or walnuts. This is a great snack if you're trying to build muscle.

Salmon English muffin

Spread a spoonful of low-fat cream cheese on a whole-wheat English muffin, and top with about two ounces of smoked salmon. You get the quality carbs from the muffin, plus a great protein and the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids.

No matter when you exercise, be sure you fuel your body properly to get the best results. Create your own combinations with quality sources of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Pen Waggener.

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