13 Energy Snacks to Fuel Your Workout

Workout snacks with a healthy balance of natural sugars and protein.

Some days, you get to the gym and exceed all expectations. You run longer and faster. You lift heavier weights. You do more burpees than you’ve ever done in your life, and it feels great! Other days, it’s a challenge to even put on your running shoes. You have to practically drag yourself through the gym. Why does this happen?

Your health affects your ability to have an effective workout. That includes your mood, amount of sleep the night before, and especially what you ate. Your pre-workout snack is important because food provides you with fuel. If you don’t have a good pre-workout snack, you won’t have the energy to exercise.

Carbohydrates are your body’s main energy source. Since sugars are the easiest carbs to break up, your body will use them first. Eating some sugar before you exercise can help. But you don’t want heavily processed, refined sugar. Be smart and consume natural sugars from fruits and vegetables.

A great workout snack also contains protein. Your body uses the amino acids in protein to rebuild the muscle that’s broken down during a workout. While it’s most important to eat protein right after you exercise, consuming some before you start will begin the muscle reconstruction process.

We’ve composed a list of 13 Energy Snacks to Fuel Your Workout. Read on and get the most from your time at the gym!

1. No Bake Almond Cranberry Energy Balls
If you’re looking for a fun and easy recipe, try these energy balls made with oats, dried cranberries, almonds, and pistachios.

2. Clean Eating Refrigerator Oatmeal
You can make this oatmeal ahead of time and keep it stored in the fridge for up to three days. With sugars from honey and fruit puree and 11 grams of protein, it’s a sweet pre-workout snack.

3. Pick Me Up Breakfast Smoothie
This smoothie contains plenty of natural sugars from fruit. It’s made with luscious strawberries and bananas, which deliver antioxidants and potassium. It also contains coconut water to help keep you hydrated during your workout.

4. Wake Me Up, Keep Me Going Smoothie
If you’re looking for a low calorie smoothie option, this recipe has only 162 calories in 1 1/2 cups. It contains sugar from bananas and grapes, as well as healthy fats and protein from avocado, spinach, kale and chia. The flavorful greens will brighten up your day!

5. Skinny Nutella Spread with whole grain pretzels or apple slices
This healthy version of the chocolate hazelnut spread contains 5 grams of natural sugar per tablespoon. You can enjoy it with pretzels or apple slices for a richly satisfying pre-workout snack.

6. No-Bake Workout Bars
One bar and you’re set for a high intensity workout. You’ll get plenty of energy and 14 grams of protein with this delicious bar.

7. Clean Eating Almond Butter and Jelly with a small banana
One serving of this almond butter and jelly spread is 47 calories. It’s delicious with fresh fruit like banana. Bananas are a great source of natural sugars.

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Sofia Lopez

Sofia received her BA from Cornell University and her MFA from San Francisco State University. She creates workouts and fitness challenges. Her hobbies include running, hiking, and listening to audiobooks from the exercise bike.

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