Happy hour, outdoor movie, dinner outside or… a class?
Before you give up entirely on exercise, we’ve put together some of our favorite foods to fuel your mind and body and keep you in the mood to move through a great nighttime workout.
These simple foods all share three common traits:
- They are energy dense, meaning you don’t have to eat a ton to get a nice hit of energy.
- They will regulate blood sugar because they have a good balance of complex carbs, fat and protein.
- They’re easy to digest and won’t leave you uncomfortable or bloated, breaking down without requiring tons of energy.
Half an avocado with a sprinkle of salt and pepper provides a satisfying hit of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which quickly tells the brain it can focus on the task at hand (like getting to and completing your workout). Its soft texture also breaks down easily and won’t distend your tummy, which is good news if you’re off to barre class in a tight-fitting unitard.
Peanut butter and celery or apple
Fats and fiber and a little hit of slow-burning carbohydrate (if you go the apple route) will make for an energized evening. Have this snack about half an hour before your workout to give the celery time to break down a bit. If that’s not your thing, stick with the spoonful of peanut butter and refuel with veggies afterwards.
Salmon on crackers
Combine a few tablespoons of canned salmon with a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and spread on a couple of your favorite whole-grain crackers or rice cakes. Protein + slow-burning carbohydrates will feel like a mini meal and gets things revved up for your workout. As an alternative, pair brown rice cakes with almond butter and turmeric.
A cup of warm lentil soup
It’s freezing outside: Warm up and fuel up with protein-packed lentils in a deliciously easy-to-digest soup.
Pumpkin sunflower butter almond milk smoothie
Blend up a little pumpkin pie in a glass — thoroughly energizing, thanks to its slow-burning carbs, nourishing fats and ample protein — by combining pumpkin puree, almond milk, almond butter, and a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Make this ahead of time and store in the fridge at work all day, then consume just before your workout for optimal energy production.
Cooked sweet potatoes
A little leftovers never hurt anyone, and a Tupperware of roasted, caramelized sweet potatoes is a great way to set yourself up for solid cardio.
Oatmeal with cinnamon
It might be unusual, but there’s a reason oatmeal is the breakfast of (some) champions. Pair it with a little coconut milk and cinnamon for added fats and flavor, then run all the way to class and back thanks to this warming, nourishing bowl of yum.
Pistachios are high in protein (25g per serving!), unsaturated fat and carbs, making them a well-balanced, easy-to-nosh-on nut. Have a handful to boost your mood (thanks, Vitamin B) and energy before heading out to class.