The 9 Best Pre-Workout Snacks of 2019

Get the energy you need for a great workout

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

First Look

Best Overall: KIND Bars, Nuts and Spices Variety Pack at Amazon

"Packed with protein, fiber, and carbs, they’ll fuel your muscles while filling you up and keeping you energized."

Best Budget: Apple or Banana with Peanut Butter at Amazon

"Both apples and bananas provide quick energy and are easily digestible, so this fruit and peanut butter combo is perfect if you’re pressed for time and need to eat a snack 30 to 60 minutes before your workout."

Best for Women: Luna Bars at Amazon

"They’re gluten-free and full of nutrients that are especially beneficial for women, such as calcium and iron."

Best Low-Carb: ONE Protein Bar at Amazon

"With 20 grams of protein and just 1 gram of sugar, these gluten-free bars keep you feeling full during and after exercise."

Best for Energy: Planters NUT-rition Heart Healthy Mix at Amazon

"The protein and fat will give you a longer-lasting energy boost, so you can crush your workout."

Best for Fat Loss: Emerald Dry Roasted Almonds at Target

"They’ll provide plenty of energy to fuel your exercise, and they’ll fill you up so you won’t get distracted by hunger pangs."

Best for Morning Workouts: Steel Cut Oatmeal at Target

"The carbs in the oats release a steady stream of carbs during your workout, so your energy levels will stay consistent, making it an ideal choice before your Sunday morning long run or bike ride."

Best Low Calorie: thinkThin High Protein Bars at Target

"They’re easy to stash in your gym bag or jacket pocket, so you have a pre-workout snack right when you need it."

Best for Muscle Gain: Pure Protein Bars at Amazon

"Packed with 20 grams of protein, these bars are an easy and convenient snack before weight lifting sessions."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: KIND Bars, Nuts and Spices Variety Pack

KIND Bars, Nuts and Spices Variety Pack, Gluten Free, 1.4 Ounce Bars, 12 Count

Courtesy of Amazon

These bars are an all-star pick for fitness lovers because they’re easy, convenient, and delicious. Packed with protein, fiber, and carbs, they’ll fuel your muscles while filling you up and keeping you energized. They’re also portable, so you don’t have to worry about prep time or keeping them refrigerated.

Made from simple, wholesome ingredients that you can see and pronounce, KIND bars are more nutritious and tasty than some other bars. This variety pack contains three of their most popular bars, which taste satisfying and indulgent, but only contain 5 grams of sugar.

Best Budget: Apple or Banana with Peanut Butter

You don’t have to carry a jar of peanut butter in your gym bag to enjoy its creamy, delicious taste before a workout. Just pair an apple or banana with one of these convenient, single-serving cups of peanut butter for a tasty and inexpensive snack. Both apples and bananas provide quick energy and are easily digestible, so this fruit and peanut butter combo is perfect if you’re pressed for time and need to eat a snack 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.

Besides being packed with protein, peanut butter is also rich in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and potassium, which aids in maintaining nerve and muscle function.

Best for Women: Luna Bars

These delicious, convenient bars give you the protein and carbs you need in a pre-workout snack and leave out all the stuff you don’t want, such as artificial flavors and high-fructose corn syrup. They’re also gluten-free and full of nutrients that are especially beneficial for women, such as calcium and iron.

Made with wholesome, organic ingredients, they’re nutritious and easy to digest, so you don’t have to worry about digestive issues during your workout, even if you have a sensitive stomach. Whether you choose a variety pack of four different flavors or a whole box of one of their best-sellers, Lemon Zest and Nutz Over Chocolate, you can’t go wrong.

Best Low-Carb: ONE Protein Bar

If you’re following a low-carb diet, ONE protein bars can help you stay on track and fuel your workouts, so you can maximize your calorie burning efforts. With 20 grams of protein and just 1 gram of sugar, these gluten-free bars keep you feeling full during and after exercise. Unlike bland protein bars that are often tough to get down, ONE bars are delicious and come in indulgent flavors such as salted caramel and peanut butter chocolate cake.

Best for Energy: Planters NUT-rition Heart Healthy Mix

If your energy tank is feeling close to empty, you need to snack strategically to avoid having a completely unproductive workout or risk blowing it off altogether. Don’t reach for the candy bowl, as eating loads of sugar is just going to give you a quick burst of energy before you crash. Instead, choose a nutrient-rich snack that’s low in sugar and saturated fat like this Planters NUT-rition Heart Healthy Mix.

These packs of peanuts, pistachios, pecans, and almonds are convenient and totally satisfying. The protein and fat will give you a longer-lasting energy boost, so you can crush your workout.

Best for Fat Loss: Emerald Dry Roasted Almonds

Emerald Dry Roasted Almonds

Courtesy of Target

Research shows that consuming low-glycemic snacks, or foods that allow a slow release of energy in the bloodstream, will allow you to go a little longer and harder in your workout. So if you want to get into the fat-burning zone, try reaching for some low-glycemic nuts, like these dry roasted almonds, before your workout. They’ll provide plenty of energy to fuel your exercise, and they’ll fill you up so you won’t get distracted by hunger pangs.

It’s easy to go overboard with nuts since they’re so delicious, but these 100-calorie packs will help you keep your portions under control. They’re also convenient to toss in your gym bag or purse so you can perfectly time your pre-workout snack.

Best for Morning Workouts: Steel Cut Oatmeal

Steel Cut Oatmeal

Courtesy of Target

If you work out in the morning, steel cut oatmeal is a filling, energy-boosting breakfast. The carbs in the oats release a steady stream of carbs during your workout, so your energy levels will stay consistent, making it an ideal choice before your Sunday morning long run or bike ride. While some people prefer the convenience of quick oats, others love the texture and delicious taste of steel cut oats.

To save time in the morning, make a batch the night before and heat it up in the microwave for an easy, quick meal. Toss some berries and sliced almonds on top for a little extra protein and some antioxidants.

Best Low Calorie: thinkThin High Protein Bars

thinkThin High Protein Bars

Courtesy of Target

These indulgent protein bars taste so delicious, it’s hard to believe they’re only 150 calories each. And with 20 grams of protein, they’re satisfying, filling, and will provide plenty of energy for your workouts. They’re also gluten-free and contain no sugar, so they can keep you on track with your weight loss goals. With tasty flavors like brownie crunch, chunky peanut butter, and chocolate mint, there’s definitely a thinkThin bar to satisfy any craving.

They’re easy to stash in your gym bag or jacket pocket, so you have a pre-workout snack right when you need it. 

Best for Muscle Gain: Pure Protein Bars

Protein is important for muscle-building, but it’s not always feasible or desirable to drink a protein shake before a workout. Packed with 20 grams of protein, these bars are an easy and convenient snack before weight lifting sessions. They’ll also help you feel energized and full, so you won’t be fighting off hunger pangs in between sets.

Our Process 

Our writers spent 8 hours researching the most popular pre-workout snacks on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 22 snacks projectors overall, screened options from 14 different brands and manufacturers, read over 615 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 22 of the snacks themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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