Foods to Fuel Your Workout

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Q_ What are the best foods to eat before and after a workout?

A: When starting an exercise regimen, it is important to understand how to fuel up before and after your workouts. You don't want to eat too much food before exercising, because that may cause you to become nauseous or crampy. You want your snack to digest quickly and you want it to supply a sufficient amount of energy - and that is exactly what complex carbohydrates do. If you are working out early morning, try having a small snack an hour or two before your workout. If you are working out after lunch, make sure to wait 3-4 hours after eating a solid meal. Some tasty and healthy snack ideas include, half a high-fiber English muffin with a tbsp of peanut butter, 1/2 a whole wheat turkey sandwich. 1 oz. pistachios and a pear, gnu flavor and fiber bar, and 1 cup non-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup high-fiber cereal.

If you are not careful after your workout, you could end up eating more than you burned at the gym - so why bother working out in the first place? After a workout, and before grabbing something to eat, try drinking some water. The symptoms of dehydration are similar to hunger: Feeling tired, weak and shaky.

Another benefit of drinking after a workout is that you replenish fluids that were lost through sweating. When it comes to a post-workout snack, aim for a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates. Protein is essential for repairing and building muscle, and the complex carbs will help replenish your energy stores. Great choices would be an apple with string cheese, a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter, or a 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1 cup berries, 1 cup baby carrots with 1/4 cup hummus, and Starkist Lunch To-Go tuna kits (omit the crackers) and 4 whole grain high-fiber crackers - all of which contain less than 200 calories.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto