The Grab-and-Go Pre-Workout Snacks Sports Dietitians Always Fuel Up On

Trending 3 weeks ago

With nan Well+Good SHOP, our editors put their years of know-how to activity successful bid to prime products (from tegument attraction to aforesaid attraction and beyond) they’re betting you’ll love. While our editors independently prime these products, making a acquisition done our links whitethorn gain Well+Good a commission. Happy shopping! Explore nan SHOP

By now, you astir apt cognize nutrition is important for optimal performance erstwhile it comes to moving out, but it’s easy to put it connected nan backmost burner, particularly erstwhile you’re short connected time. Maybe you’re rushing to your barre people correct from work. Do you really request to eat a pre-workout snack first? If you want to consciousness and do your best, nan reply is yes.

However, having to scheme 1 much point tin beryllium overwhelming. Even arsenic a dietitian, I struggle to get capable nutrition for my workouts because of this. But it doesn’t person to beryllium complicated. A pre-workout snack is each that’s needed. It’s what you eat earlier your workout that tin make each of nan difference.

Experts In This Article

  • Lexi Moriarty, RDN, CSSD, certified sports dietitian and proprietor of Fueled + Balanced Nutrition
  • Mandy Tyler, RD, CSSD, LD, registered dietitian
  • Nicole Ibarra, RD, dietitian specializing successful sports nutrition
  • Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN
  • Steph Magill, RD, CD, proprietor of Soccer Mom Nutrition

And who amended to connection pre-workout snack ideas than sports dietitians who specialize successful tailoring nutrition for athletes to meet power and betterment demands? Here are immoderate of their favourite grab-and-go snacks.

Why eat a pre-workout snack

Really, a pre-workout snack has 1 awesome job. “They should beryllium each astir speedy energy,” says Steph Magill, RD, CD, proprietor of Soccer Mom Nutrition.

Here’s really it works. The power needed to move your muscles comes from glucose, which is sweetener that your assemblage gets from eating carbohydrates. Your assemblage stores glucose successful your liver and muscles and will pat into that shop erstwhile you don’t person substance readily disposable from nutrient you've conscionable eaten.

Related Stories


If you person a pre-workout snack, you’ll person accessible fuel. On apical of that, you’ve sewage your stored energy. More power intends you’ll beryllium capable to push harder and longer.

A pre-workout snack tin besides supply nutrients basal for recovery. Nicole Ibarra, RD, a registered dietitian specializing successful sports nutrition, suggests foods that fulfill that purpose. For example, “Greek yogurt pinch berries contains a precocious magnitude of protein, replenishes musculus glycogen, and contains antioxidants and leucine—an important branch concatenation amino acerb for musculus macromolecule synthesis,” she explains.

What to look for successful a pre-workout snack

Carbohydrates should beryllium astatine nan instauration of a pre-workout snack, according to sports dietitian, Mandy Tyler, RD, CSSD, LD. "They supply nan assemblage pinch nan power needed to execute astatine its best,” she says.

While protein bars and shakes are each nan rage, you whitethorn want to hold disconnected until aft a workout. “Protein is basal for musculus repair and recovery, but excessively overmuch pre-workout tin slow down digestion," says Magill, who advises her clients to devour macromolecule moderately earlier moving out. "A smaller amount, astir 5 to 10 grams, is capable to support your muscles without causing digestive issues during exercise.”

It’s besides important to see limiting foods that are precocious successful fibre and fat because “these foods tin return longer to digest and whitethorn origin digestive issues successful some,” says Lexi Moriarty, RDN, CSSD, a certified sports dietitian and proprietor of Fueled + Balanced Nutrition.

What to look for successful a pre-workout snack will besides travel down to nan type of training you scheme connected doing. Endurance activities, for illustration moving aliases rotation class, will require much carbohydrates than a spot training session.

When should you eat a pre-workout snack?

While you don’t want thing excessively dense correct earlier training, nan longer you person earlier you exercise, nan much you’ll beryllium capable to eat. “If I person 1 to 2 hours earlier my workout, I’ll opt for much of a mini meal—like half of a sandwich aliases Greek yogurt parfait,” Magill says.

On nan different hand, should you beryllium strapped for time—or person a touchy digestive system—Moriarty recommends prioritizing carbohydrates that are easy to digest and thing you cognize you tolerate well. “If you person a delicate tummy aliases request thing wrong minutes of your workout, an applesauce pouch, a fistful of barren cereal aliases raisins, 1/2 a Nature’s Bakery bar, aliases a sports portion pinch carbohydrates are immoderate options,” she says.

Pre-workout snacks sports dietitians and RDs recommend

Convenience is nan sanction of nan crippled erstwhile it comes to pre-workout snacks—bonus if it's portable, truthful it tin beryllium eaten en route. Another pro tip? “Keep a fewer snacks connected manus successful your gym container to bask connected nan measurement to your workout,” Tyler says. That way, you don't person to interest astir uncovering thing that useful for you en way to exercising.


Fruit is simply a terrific root of carbohydrates for your pre-workout snack. Not to mention its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits for your recovering muscles. These circumstantial fruits topped nan database of recommended snacks:

  • Bananas: A favorite of astir RDs, bananas person a spot much carbs than different fruits. They’re besides rich | successful potassium—an electrolyte basal for hydration.
  • Dried fruit: Dried consequence has nan aforesaid benefits arsenic caller fruit, but is much nutrient-dense. Per ounce, location are much carbohydrates and calories for fuel. Raisins, cherries, mangos, and different dried fruits make for a speedy wound that is easy to pack.
  • Applesauce: Those applesauce pouches aren’t conscionable for nan kids. You tin support these successful nan car aliases successful your container for a useful and elemental pre-workout snack. No spoon necessary.

Prepackaged snacks

  • Fig bars: Whole wheat fig bars, for illustration Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars, are an easy measurement to get successful carbs. And they travel successful a assortment of flavors, for illustration strawberry, blueberry, aliases pome cinnamon.
  • Date bars: Growing successful fame because of their elemental ingredients, snacks for illustration Larabars, That’s It bars, and RXBARs, harvester dates pinch nuts aliases different fruits to make a wholesome snack abundant successful carbs.
  • Granola bars: Usually made of oats, granola bars are precocious successful carbs and well-suited for progressive people.Before a run, I emotion a Clif Bar Mini for immoderate speedy power pinch a small other staying power,” says Sarah Schlicter, RD, CSSD, a registered dietitian and certified master successful sports dietetics astatine Nutrition for Running. 
  • Pretzels: This is different carbohydrate-rich snack that is easy to digest. You tin bargain individual serving-size bags aliases prevention money by getting a larger container and pre-filling snack bags yourself.
  • Energy balls: Power balls aliases macromolecule bites are becoming readily disposable successful nan snack aisle. Brands for illustration The GFB and Frooze Balls make bite-sized snacks that tin beryllium easy stashed successful your bag.
  • Trail mix: Often containing carb-dense dried fruit, way operation has nan further use of micronutrients and patient fats coming from nuts and seeds.
  • String cheese: While you wouldn’t want to eat just drawstring food because of its debased carb count, it makes a convenient macromolecule add-on to a carb-heavy snack, for illustration consequence aliases pretzels.

Minimal-prep snacks

  • Peanut food and jelly sandwich: Another snack that is loved by kids and adults alike, PB&Js tin beryllium whipped up successful nary time. It’s a basal combo that checks nan boxes for pre-exercise fuel.
  • Waffles: Pop a stiff waffle successful nan toaster and successful a infinitesimal you’re fresh to go. “A waffle pinch peanut food has 18-20 grams of carbohydrates which tin beryllium utilized for speedy power earlier exercise,” Schlicter says.
  • Bagel: Simple and straightforward, a bagel tin beryllium toasted and enjoyed arsenic a speedy root of carbs to prolong your endurance activity. You tin dispersed peanut food for immoderate macromolecule aliases a spot of pick food for added flavor.

Prioritizing a pre-workout snack whitethorn initially look for illustration an further task, particularly successful nan midst of engaged schedules, but nan speedy power and nutrition they connection tin make a large quality to your power during a workout (and betterment afterward). The cardinal is to fig retired which grab-and-go options activity champion for you and your capacity needs, past support them connected manus successful your car aliases container truthful they're easy accessible.

Our editors independently prime these products. Making a acquisition done our links whitethorn gain Well+Good a commission.