There are many options for vegan pre-workout snacks, but just because they are vegan doesn’t mean they’re healthy. For example, don’t expect to feel your best during your workout if you eat a bag of vegan gummy bears, cookies, or coconut “ice cream” beforehand. Instead, fuel your workout with these healthy, vegan pre-workout snacks that are completely natural. Not only will your body thank you for it, but your workouts might just feel better too. I know I’ve seen great improvements in my workout (specifically running) endurance since going vegan.
1 Dried Tart Cherries
I think this is one of the best vegan pre-workout snacks out there. Not only are dried cherries portable, non-perishable, and delicious, but they are also so good for you. Cherries, especially tart cherries, contain high levels of antioxidants that have been proven to reduce post-workout inflammation and muscle soreness. They also make a good source of carbohydrates to give you energy before you run that can help you sustain your workout. I like to snack on them plain, but you can add them to a trail mix if you are doing a longer workout as well.
If you have never tried a Larabar before, it’s about time you did. Many people reach for energy bars before their workouts because they are quick and easy, but they aren’t as healthy as you think – many contain soy isolates that are so processed and shouldn’t be a regular part of a healthy diet. Larabars are a great alternative, because they are a fruit and nut-based energy bar, but they contain only about 5 ingredients. They taste amazing, and contain no soy or dairy! They come in so many flavors like chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cookie, and chocolate brownie so you will definitely find one that you love.
3 Coconut Water
I love drinking coconut water before I work out. It takes care of hydration and electrolyte needs, while providing a good amount of nutrition. This is especially true if I am not working out for a long period of time, where I would need something more substantial beforehand. Coconut water is also good for getting rid of fatigue (often this occurs during workouts), muscle cramps, and may actually help muscle growth. Coconut water is a great replacement for sports drinks, and I love the taste of the Zico brand, as well as straight from a young Thai coconut.
4 Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich
If you are going for a long run or working out for a longer period of time, you may need more fuel in your body than just liquids. This Elvis-themed sandwich will help you sustain almost any workout duration you have. Bananas are so easily digested and provide an instant boost of energy from carbohydrates. I am a person who can eat something before a workout and not need much time to digest it, so I opt for whole grain bread in this case. If you have a sensitive digestive system, make sure you use a bread low in fiber or have your snack in advance. The peanut butter will help sustain your energy, as you won’t have the crash-and-burn feeling associated with pure carbohydrate snacks. I like to use almond butter in place of the peanut butter, if you want a nut-free version.
5 Green Juice
Sometimes you aren’t exactly hungry before a workout (especially in the morning), but you know you should eat something because it’s going to be a hard workout ahead. That’s where fresh juice comes in! Freshly juiced fruit and vegetables make great pre-workout fuel because they provide a huge burst of energy to keep you going during your workout. Not only that, but the fiber is removed in the juicing process, which is good in this case because then your body won’t have to try digesting it during your workout, giving you more stamina. Drinking beet juice has been shown recently to boost endurance in long-distance runners, and adding greens to your juice will also help.
Now that it’s fall, nothing tastes better than a warm, carbohydrate-rich snack before working out. Oatmeal actually makes a great vegan snack if you are going to exercise in the morning. Make sure you buy actual oats and not the instant oatmeal if you want it to be healthy and/or vegan. That way you will be getting the carbohydrates you need to fuel your workout. This creates a blank canvas where you can top your oats with dried fruit, nuts, nut butter, natural sweeteners, or whatever you can tolerate before your workout. Other warm, comforting carbohydrates like English muffins and bagels can make good options as well, if you buy a good-quality vegan brand, such as Food for Life.
Pineapple makes such an excellent pre-workout snack, and it’s pretty portable too, if you cut it up ahead of time. It is actually rich in the digestive enzyme bromelain, which means it will help with digestive woes that happen during workouts. Also, pineapple has major anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent workout fatigue. In fact, our bodies are typically inflamed after workouts, so consuming pineapple beforehand can help prevent some of the inflammation. Of course, having some inflammation is a natural bodily response, so just make sure you don’t consume too much pineapple before your workout. I like having pineapple smoothies, unsweetened dried pineapple, and frozen pineapple, as well as fresh before I run.
8 Apple with Almond Butter
There was a time when I would just eat an apple before my runs, and I would always feel tired mid-run. Little did I know that I needed something more substantial than just an apple. So, I started dipping it in a couple of scoops of almond butter. That did just the trick, and I ended up having such a great amount of energy to work out that I never went back! You can try this with organic or natural peanut butter as well, and you have an easy, healthy, and delicious pre-workout snack.
9 Vegetables and Hummus
Raw vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, and broccoli all make great pre-workout snacks, but hardly provide enough to fuel an entire workout. That’s why hummus or another dip makes a great addition to this snack. The hummus provides lasting protein, as well as additional carbohydrates, to help you endure your entire workout. The vegetables will give you necessary carbohydrates, and also antioxidants that help get rid of free radicals that come during exercise. Most hummus is naturally vegan, but make sure you check the label just in case.
Eating a vegan diet has helped me tremendously with my workout endurance, but be cautious as eating vegan is certainly not for everyone. Everybody is different so make sure you fuel your body with what you can handle. If you aren’t sure what your body can handle, these options are great places to start and make for healthy and balanced pre-workout snacks. What is your favorite pre-workout snack, vegan or not?
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