One of the most important parts of working out is the foods you eat before and after. Some people can eat too much, or eat too little which can have negative effects on your weight loss or muscle toning efforts. These foods are some of the best things you can eat pre- and post-workout to make your hard work worth it!

PRE-WORKOUT

Protein Shake: A protein shake will give you tons of energy and just the right of amino acids before your sweat session Depending on the type of workout, there can be different ingredients used for the shake. Apple and oranges will give you lasting energy and keep you going during your entire workout. These shakes enhance muscle growth and protein! To get Skinny Mom approved protein shake recipes, click here.  (via Livestrong)

womendrinkshake

Whole Grain Bagels: The carbs in whole grains are considered “complex” carbohydrates, which deliver a steady flow of energy over time as opposed to all of the energy being released at once. This will keep you going throughout your entire workout instead of being energized at the beginning and dragging at the end. (via Women’s Health Magazine)

wholegrainbagels

Carrots: Another superfood that contains complex carbs, providing you tons of energy, strength for your muscles, and potassium that controls blood pressure and muscle contractions. This is an important element when working out so eating carrots before you go to the gym can be very beneficial! (via Women’s Health Magazine)

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Low Fat Cottage Cheese: This simple yet nutritious snack is a great option to eat before a hardcore workout! Low fat cottage cheese is high in protein, calcium and carbohydrates! It offers so many benefits for such a small, accessible snack. Eating protein packed foods will avoid tearing or pulling a muscle during a workout. If you don’t like the sweet flavors paired with cottage cheese, try adding steamed broccoli with red pepper flakes for some spice.

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Oatmeal with Fresh Fruit: Oatmeal is filled with sugar which will get you moving for your workout! It doesn’t just provide a short term energy boost, but one that will stick with you the whole time you’re at the gym! Oatmeal gradually releases the sugar in your bloodstream, keeping you at high energy. Adding fruit to your oatmeal will keep you hydrated as it will increase the fluid content to your snack. (via Fitness Magazine)

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POST-WORKOUT

Chocolate Milk: Chocolate milk after a workout can be more beneficial than drinking a sports drink! Chocolate milk provides calcium, 90% water, potassium and electrolytes. It is important to rehydrate after working out and to replace electrolytes and potassium lost through sweating. Drinking this after a workout will provide the necessary proteins and carbohydrates that were lost during an intense sweat session. For more information about chocolate milk as a post-workout drink, click here.

chocolatemilk

Grilled Chicken and Mixed Vegetables: The best thing to do after a workout is fill up on nutrient-dense food. A dish centered around lean meat does just that! Filled with protein and carbohydrates, chicken will fill you up without making you feel too full. Adding vegetables will give it an extra kick and provide you with more nutrients that will have you feeling great after a workout! My favorite part about this dish is it is so easy to prepare and there are so many simple ways to add variety to your chicken breast. Through seasonings and skinny sauces, I truly never get sick of my lean chicken or turkey burger with mixed veggies. Check out Skinny Dips & Sauces and Skinny Chicken Recipes.

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Eggs and Orange Juice: We all know that eggs are one of the best sources of protein available. Mix that with Vitamin C loaded orange juice and you have a great post-workout combination. Both the egg whites and yolk contain tons of protein. Orange juice contains vitamin C and healthy carbs. These two can leave you feeling full of energy and revived after your workout kicked your butt! If I have a little more time to add some veggies too my eggs, I love Skinny Mom’s Egg Scramble.

AvocadoEggScramble_Ziplist

Granola: For those times you don’t want to eat something large after a workout, granola is the perfect solution! It’s perfect for on-the-go and everywhere else. Granola provides protein, carbs, and healthy fat that will keep you energized and moving! You can mix it with yogurt or enjoy it by itself. However, make sure to set aside a certain amount rather than eating out of a bag so you can have control over how much you eat. Too much granola can become high in calories pretty quickly!

granola

Cheese and Crackers: Yet another snack that is perfect for when you’re not ready to eat something heavy after your workout! By choosing crackers that are high in fiber and cheese that is reduced-fat, you have a great salty and savory treat. If you need a little more substance, making turkey cracker sandwiches with reduced-sodium turkey is a great filling option. My favorite healthy cracker is the Mary’s Gone Crackers brand. Organic and gluten-free with no added oils or fat, this cracker is the perfect crunchy snack!

cheeseandcrackers