20 Foods to Help You Feel Your Best Before and After Exercise

December 15, 2023

Movement is meant to make you feel your best—and our friends at Hydrow know that better than anyone. They’ve reengineered the rowing machine with new technology that prioritizes smooth, meditative movement and makes full-body exercise effective, convenient, and enjoyable.

Together with Hydrow, we’re exploring how good nutrition can power healthy movement. What you eat before and after your workout can make all the difference in reaching your health goals and feeling energized—not worn out—when you exercise.

Before a workout, prioritize foods with healthy sources of carbohydrates and protein. Aim to eat a quick snack 40 to 60 minutes before exercise, or a larger meal 2-3 hours before. 

10 Nutritious Foods to Fuel Your Workouts

1. Banana and peanut butter

This classic combo provides carbs in the form of natural sugar from the banana, while the fat and protein from peanut butter provide longer-lasting energy.

Try: Organic Creamy Peanut Butter 

2. Sweet potatoes

No matter how they’re prepared—baked, mashed, or otherwise—sweet potatoes are a tasty source of carbs. Plus, thanks to their fiber content, your body absorbs them slowly, making for a more sustained source of energy.

Try: Petite Sweet Potatoes

3. Rice

An excellent source of fast-acting carbs, rice can be eaten on its own or combined with protein to maximize its pre-workout benefits. A blend of rice that is higher in protein, like our Lentil Quinoa Rice Mix, is a great choice.

Try: Lentil Quinoa Rice Mix

4. Oatmeal

For the early birds, oatmeal makes an amazing option for morning workouts because it provides whole-grain carbohydrates and is super simple to prepare. Or, if you’re looking for extra convenience, give our Oats Overnight Shake a try—no prep needed!

Try: Oats Overnight Apple Cinnamon Shake

5. Yogurt

Naturally occurring carbs and protein make yogurt a perfect pre-workout food. It’s also endlessly customizable—add in some sliced fruit, nuts, or granola for extra flavor and fuel.

Try: Organic Vanilla Yogurt Cup

6. Tortilla

A tortilla is a versatile source of carbs—make a fajita by adding some veggies and hummus, whip up a wrap by adding protein like chicken, or enjoy a little breakfast burrito and scramble some eggs in.

Try: White Corn Tortillas

7. Bread

Take your favorite bread— anything from a sprouted whole grain to pita to naan—and pair it with 

a protein for sustained energy. Anything goes here, from a turkey sandwich to pita with hummus.

Try: Organic Sprouted Soft Wheat Bread

8. Fruit and cheese

Why wait for a fancy dinner party to break out the cheese plate? The protein in cheese and the carbs in fruit make it the perfect pre-workout pairing. Even better—our snack packs make an easy option to take on the go.

Try: Fruit, Nut + Cheese Snack Pack

9. Crackers

Stash some crackers in your desk, car, or bag for quick carbohydrates. Look for a cracker that contains a bit of protein from a blend of nuts and seeds.

Try: Sea Salt Almond Crackers

10. Carrots and hummus

Another classic combination. Carrots (or any veggies you love!) with hummus are fairly low in calories compared to other pre-exercise options, making them best suited for lighter workout days.

Try: Organic Rainbow Baby Carrots

After your workout’s done and dusted, it’s time to focus on repair and recovery. Similar to pre-workout nutrition, foods with healthy sources of carbohydrates and protein are ideal to help your body rebound. 

If you haven’t eaten anything before your workout, aim to refuel within an hour of exercise. If you’ve snacked beforehand, no need to rush it—just be sure to grab a bite within a few hours.

10 Foods to Help You Refuel Post-Workout

1.  Protein shakes

A high-quality protein shake offers a convenient way to get your protein and carbs after a workout.

Try: Chocolate Protein Shake

2. Turkey

Turkey packs a ton of protein, and also comes loaded with B-vitamins and minerals like selenium and zinc. Pairing turkey with carbs like crackers gives you a well-rounded post-workout meal.

Try: Turkey Tenderloin with Hickory Potatoes + Green Beans

3. Beans

A great source of both carbs and protein, beans are a perfect choice to refuel after a workout. Combining beans with rice, like in a burrito bowl, ensures that you get all the nutrients you need.

Try: Cuban Spiced Black Beans

4. Salmon

Not only a fantastic source of complete protein, salmon also provides Omega-3 essential fatty acids. You’ll be taking care of your muscles and your brain by eating fish. Pair salmon with carbs—like a bagel—to get a more complete post-workout meal.

Try: Zesty Salmon with Black Bean + Corn Salad

5. Eggs

Eggs are a bonafide nutrition powerhouse. The possibilities are endless here—scramble some eggs with vegetables, plop a fried egg on toast, or bake some egg muffins ahead of time.

Try: Pasture Raised Hard Boiled Eggs

6. Peanut butter and jelly 

A tried-and-true favorite of kids and kids at heart, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich gives you plenty of carbs to refill your glycogen stores alongside plant-based protein to rebuild muscle.

Try: Peanut Butter + Strawberry Jam Sandwich

7. Chocolate milk

Another delicious and nostalgic option! Chocolate milk is a grab-and-go source of complete protein and quick-acting carbs that get to work immediately to help you recover from a workout. No worries if you don’t do dairy—our deliciously creamy plant-based version contains pea protein.

Try: Not Chocolate Milk

8. Pasta

Rich in carbohydrates, pasta can help to top off your glycogen stores. For extra credit, choose pasta that’s higher in protein like chickpea pasta or add in meat for more protein.

Try: Chickpea Rotini

9. Chicken breast

It’s a staple for a reason—chicken breast provides lots of protein and is super versatile. Try to pair it with a starch, like a chicken fajita, a stir-fry with rice, or thrown into a pasta dish.

Try: Seasoned Grilled Chicken Breast

10. Shrimp

Shrimp offers tons of protein to help rebuild muscles after a workout. Like chicken, it can be added to pasta or rice dishes to provide all the building blocks for good recovery. 

Try: Brown Butter Shrimp Scampi

Exercise and nutrition go hand-in-hand to support your health and fitness goals. If you want to feel healthier and stronger, look no further than the feel-good food on our virtual shelves and the world-class workouts offered by Hydrow.

BEFORE 10/17

Get started with an extra $100 off a Hydrow rower with code HUNGRYROOT100—that's up to $400 in savings if you also take advantage of Hydrow's sitewide sale ending 10/17! Plus, enjoy 40% your first Hungryroot delivery right here when you use code HYDROW40.

AFTER 10/18

Get started with an extra $100 off a Hydrow rower with code HUNGRYROOT100—that's up to $300 in savings if you also take advantage of Hydrow's sitewide sale! Plus, enjoy 40% your first Hungryroot delivery right here when you use code HYDROW40.

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