Sports Nutrition 6 Smart Pre-Workout Snacks By Lisa Lillien Lisa Lillien Facebook Twitter Lisa Lillien is a New York Times bestselling author and the creator of Hungry Girl, where she shares healthy recipes and realistic tips and tricks. Learn about our editorial process Updated on December 15, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Fit articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and nutrition and exercise healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, CPT Medically reviewed by Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, CPT Facebook Twitter Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, CPT is a New York City-based telehealth registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition communications expert. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print It can be tough to find the perfect pre-exercise food. You want something that’ll fuel your workout, but it also needs to be light enough that it won’t weigh you down. The ideal workout food is something that is low in calories, contains quality carbs, and is high in protein. Also, as you eat closer to your workout, you also want to have a lower fat and fiber intake. It's best to be consistent with the time between when you snack and then when you workout. 1 Greek yogurt Courtesy of Getty Images Fat-free plain Greek yogurt is the ultimate exercise snack: tons of protein (twice as much as regular yogurt), super filling without being heavy, and it's easy to eat on-the-go. There are plenty of brands that make perfectly portioned 100-calorie containers. If you find the taste of plain Greek yogurt a little too tart, mix in a packet of natural no-calorie sweetener (like Truvia), some raspberries and blueberries, or some low-sugar preserves. For some healthy fats that’ll kick your workout into high gear, add a few almonds! Great Toppings for Greek Yogurt 2 Banana Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman One perfect pre-workout food comes straight from Mother Nature: the banana. A medium-sized banana has just about 100 calories, 27g carbs, and almost no fat. It is best to consume a banana 30-60 minutes before a workout. Bananas have enough calories to quiet your hungry stomach for the duration of a workout, and just enough carbs to keep you energized. Plus, it comes in its own container. Can't beat that! (And no, bananas themselves won't cause weight gain). 3 Delicious Style smoothie Courtesy of Getty Images Smoothies definitely have the potential to be a nutritious light snack, but you should be extra careful with them—they can be packed with way too many sugary calories. Your best bet is to DIY your own low-calorie smoothie. Stick with skim cow's milk (or your favorite unsweetened soy milk), unsweetened frozen fruits, and fat-free Greek yogurt. Aim for 150 calories. This way, the smoothie will energize you for your workout without leading to a sugar crash later in the day. If you are planning a harder workout lasting more than 60-90 minutes, more carbohydrates may be needed, especially if it is a cardio workout. Healthy, Low-Calorie Smoothie Ideas 4 Oatmeal Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Oatmeal is chock-full of quality carbs and it’s so satisfying. It’s an especially good choice if you want to eat a full breakfast before a mid-morning workout. A popular way to cook oatmeal is to make a bowl of “growing oatmeal.” That's one serving of old-fashioned oats cooked for twice as long and with double the liquid. The result? A super-sized portion! Just give yourself some time to digest it before you lace up your sneakers. 5 Snack Bars With Protein Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Need something fast, easy, and shelf-stable? Snack bars are for you. But not so fast! Not all snack bars are created equal. For pre-workout purposes, you want a carbohydrate and protein bar with less than 200 calories and a fair amount of protein that will help rebuild muscles as you work out. And watch out for fat. Certain snack bars pack are surprisingly high in fat. The Best Protein Bars of 2019 6 Apple With Light Cheese Courtesy of Getty Images / Babybel An all-time favorite snacks is a Fuji apple with a wheel of Mini Babybel cheese, and it just so happens that it’s also the perfect fuel for exercise. Apples have just enough calories and carbs to keep your energy up, and Mini Babybel cheese adds a bit of protein and extra flavor. Together, apples and cheese add up to a satisfying snack with under 200 calories. Sweet! 1 Source Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Bananas, raw. USDA FoodData Central. By Lisa Lillien Lisa Lillien is a New York Times bestselling author and the creator of Hungry Girl, where she shares healthy recipes and realistic tips and tricks. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from companies that partner with and compensate Verywell Fit for displaying their offer. These partnerships do not impact our editorial choices or otherwise influence our editorial content.