The best foods to eat before, after and during your workout

While regular exercise is vital to maintaining a healthy waistline, what you put into your body can make all the difference. You don’t want to slow yourself down with calorie-packed foods and greasy snacks. By consuming the right items, you may notice a change in your waistline and even feel more energy throughout the day. Fuel your body before, during and after workouts for better overall health. Check out these foods to surround your workout regimen with vitamins, nutrients and protein:

Before your workout…
Coming into a workout, your body needs the energy to last through physical activity in order to get the most effective workout possible. Sports nutritionist Barbara Lewin told Shape Magazine that calories enable you to work out at your best. You really need the calories in order to perform well, especially if you’re planning on an especially intense workout session.

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a workout is with a meal replacement shake. Naturade Total Soy is an easy on-the-go snack and contains just the right amount of protein to promote muscle growth and stay energized. Available in chocolate and vanilla, this tasty shake is high in protein and low in calories, making it easy to achieve your weight goals.

Another option for a quick snack before breaking a sweat would be oatmeal. According to U.S. News & World Report, it settles well and provides lasting energy. You can also opt to add in some fruit for added taste and antioxidants.

Greek yogurt is another great way to consume a substantial amount of protein, and this snack will fill you up without weighing you down later. It’s easy on the stomach and provides you with a kick of energy. If you’re especially hungry and require a full meal, Shape Magazine recommended waiting three to four hours between eating and hitting the gym. Working out on a full stomach will only lead to cramps, discomfort and a less effective workout.

During your workout…
We all know that staying hydrated during a workout is vital. However, sometimes we get so caught up in the workout that we forget to reach for the water. Eating Well suggested drinking flavored water while working out because it may make it easier to stay hydrated than plain water does. However, beware of flavored drink brands containing loads of sugar, as that can add to the calorie load and slow you down. Instead, try adding frozen fruit to your water for added flavor, antioxidants and electrolytes that will keep your drink cool.

After your workout…
A workout isn’t finished without a proper snack to finish it off. According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine, consuming both carbs and protein are best immediately following exercise. Your body will use those calories for repair and recovery rather than fat storage. A glass of chocolate milk will help to replenish the energy stored in your muscles and promote muscle recovery. You could also opt for a banana and peanut butter for a similar effect.