There are so many vegan pre-workout snacks to choose from, it can be difficult to know which is best. Here’s a list of our favorites and why you should have them before your next workout.May 02, 2021 8:21 pm March 12, 2021 11:00 am
The benefits of plant-based foods
What we put into our bodies before a workout will have direct effect on our performance and our recovery. It’s important to choose something healthy and full of nutrients that provide a steady stream of energy, and keep you alert.
While there are many myths out there to say that a plant-based diet cannot provide what our bodies need, the truth is that plants provide all of the macro and micronutrients we need.
So skip the artificially sweetened energy drinks and protein bars with their long lists of unrecognisable ingredients, and choose a whole-food vegan snack instead.
Our snack choices have all pre-workout benefits without the additives. Not to mention they are all incredibly tasty!
Workout snack 1: Activated Coconut and Cacao Energy Balls
Energy balls pack a vibrant punch of flavor in just a few bites, making them the perfect quick snack to keep you feeling satiated during your workout. Our range of Energy Balls are made with Jerusalem artichoke, activated seeds and nuts, and dried fruits hand-picked by our farmers in Eastern Europe.
Jerusalem artichoke is the key ingredient that makes our energy balls a great snack to have before your workout. This is because the Jerusalem artichoke helps supply your body with a steady stream of energy due to its medium GI rating. Foods with a low to medium GI rating take longer to digest and will keep you feeling full for longer, while high GI foods give you a spike of energy, followed by a crash. You don’t want to crash mid-workout.
Low to medium GI foods are especially ideal to eat before exercises that require short bursts of energy in between longer rest times, such as weightlifting or sprinting.(1)
We recommend our Activated Coconut and Cacao Energy Balls because of the added antioxidant and energy benefits from our organic cacao.
Chocolate before a workout?
Cacao (pronounced ka-kow) is packed with antioxidants called flavonoids. In fact, a single serving of cacao powder contains more antioxidants than most foods. (2)
Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals in our body. Free radicals are molecules with an unstable amount of electrons and if left unstable, these molecules can cause cell damage and homeostatic disruption. (10)
When we exercise, we run the risk of producing free radicals in our body in what is called ‘oxidative stress’. This happens when our body is breaking down food into energy.
A healthy dose of cacao before your exercise will give your body extra antioxidants to combat the free radicals produced.
‘The food of the gods’
Cacao has been used for its health benefits for over 4,000 years.
The Mayans and Aztecs would harvest cacao beans, ferment them, and then grind them into a paste to mix with water (and often chili) as a drink. The cacao bean was so precious that it was even used as a currency — more valuable than gold!
Our organic cacao is grown and hand-picked by small organic farmers in Ecuador, not too far from the ancient Aztec and Mayan empires. (3)
Healthy energy boost
Along with flavonoids, cacao also contains theobromine, an alkaloid in the same class as caffeine.
Black coffee is a common pre-workout choice for its stimulant benefits but consuming cacao may be a safer option. While theobromine is similar to caffeine, studies show that it is safer for humans consume. (Theobromine is toxic for many mammals, which is why we cannot feed chocolate to dogs.) (2)
In this case, cacao can act as a healthier pick-me-up to coffee before you exercise.
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Try an energy ball recipe
If you are eager to make your own pre-workout snacks at home, we recommend our recipe for cashew energy balls with sea buckthorn.
This recipe is perfect for those who want a tarter, fresher snack. By coating the balls in sea buckthorn powder you will get that bright flavor with the added benefit of vitamin A, omega-7s, and antioxidants.
Feel free to add cacao nibs in your ball dough if you still want a bit of chocolate.
"Along with its ability to improve headaches and increase sex drive, cordyceps could help boost energy and athletic performance, making it a great addition to your pre-workout snack.(7)"
Workout snack 2. Chocolate banana smoothie
In place of an artificially sweetened energy drink, a banana smoothie is an excellent pre-workout and even post-workout snack to help restore the nutrients used during your exercise.
Bananas are low on the GI scale, providing you with a slow release of energy for your workout. In addition, this delicious fruit packs a hearty dose of antioxidants and vitamin B6.(4)
Blend together a medium-sized banana (fresh or frozen), a cup of non-dairy milk and 2 tablespoons of organic cacao powder with a handful of ice cubes (ice cubes are optional). Pour your smoothie into a glass and enjoy!
You could also save half of your smoothie in the fridge for later as a post-workout snack.
To reap the benefits of this smoothie post-workout, we recommend turning it into a plant-based protein smoothie with one additional ingredient: a scoop of chia seed powder or hemp seed powder.
When we exercise, our muscle fibers tear and it’s protein’s job to build and repair these fibers to make them stronger. This is how you gradually build strength—a cycle of tearing fibers and repairing them to be stronger than they were before.(5)
Proteins consist of animo acid chains which perform many different functions in the body. There are nine ‘essential amino acids’ that our bodies cannot produce on their own. We get them through our diet.
Chia seeds contain all of these ‘essential amino acids’, adding up to a total of 18-24% of their mass!(6) This makes chia seed powder a perfect replacement to protein powder.
Try adding a cup of our Raw Organic Chia Seed Powder in your smoothie to aid recovery after a sweaty gym session.
A hot drink with cordyceps mushrooms powder is a great option to have at the start of the day when you plan on workout out later on.
Mix 1-2 teaspoons of powder in with your favorite tea or coffee. Give yourself enough time to digest and you’ll be all set to sweat!
Exercise benefits of cordyceps mushrooms
Along with its ability to improve headaches and increase sex drive, cordyceps could help boost energy and athletic performance, making it a great addition to your pre-workout snack.(7)
Learn more about this adaptogenic mushroom and why it’s coined ‘Himalayan Gold’ in our recent article all about its benefits.
Workout snack 3: Vegan hot chocolate with cordyceps mushroom powder
To make a vegan hot chocolate packed with nutrients and a healthy energy boost, follow our recipe for adaptogenic mushroom hot chocolate. Swap our Organic Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powder for 2 teaspoons of Cordyceps Mushroom Powder for pre-workout benefits.
Whole grains and nuts
Workout snack 4: Trail mix with organic almonds
Homemade trail mix is a great snack to make in large batches and keep in the cupboard when need a quick handful.
Almonds for endurance
Almonds are an excellent source of unsaturated fatty-acids that help maintain your energy levels while exercising.
A recent study concluded that by consuming 60 grams of almonds 2 hours before endurance exercise, performance was improved by 20.6%! This suggests that almonds could have a positive effect on performance in endurance exercises, such as running, hillwalking, swimming, and cycling. (8, 9)
Store your trail mix in an air-tight container to eat whenever you would like.
Workout snack 5: Porridge with organic almonds
Whole grain oats are nutrient-dense and a great source of good carbs, fiber, and antioxidants. This makes plain porridge a good pre-workout snack to have on its own but why not spice it up with toppings?
The best thing about porridge is the endless customisation possibilities. Poor Goldilocks only had the choices of ‘too hot’, ‘too cold’, and ‘just right’. Imagine if she was given a full buffet of nuts, fruits, and seeds for her perfect porridge too!
Sprinkle chopped organic almonds on your porridge with flaxseeds, goji berries, and a dollop of yoghurt for a delicious snack that will keep your stamina up throughout your workout.
Workout snack 6: Tigernut Granola with Jerusalem Artichoke and Dark Chocolate
Our Tigernut Granola, also available in on-the-go portions, is the perfect grab-and-go snack for when you are in a hurry to get to your spin class or tennis lesson.
Our granola is made with tigernuts harvested in Spain. These small, striped—hence the name—tubers are rich in antioxidants. As a pre-workout snack, these tigernuts will help stabilize free radicals produced as you burn off food for fuel.
Like our Energy Balls, this granola is made with Jerusalem Artichoke and raw cacao to keep you energized and feeling full.
Even when you’re not on-the-go, our granola is perfect to have with yoghurt or milk as a pre-workout or post-workout snack.
Workout snack 7: Apples and bananas with almond butter
The fat from the almond butter and the carbs and fiber from the fruit provide a quick and well-balanced snack to prepare your body for your workout.
Any high fiber, low GI fruit is great to eat before your workout, but apples and bananas are ideal when you want to spread something on top for additional flavor.
Use almond butter in place of peanut butter, as it has all of the nutritional benefits of almonds blended into a smooth, delicious food perfect for spreading.
Be sure to use an all-natural almond butter without any added ingredients. You can even make your own almond butter by blending dry-roasted, unsalted whole almonds in a food processor.
The power of plants
We hope you enjoyed our list of favorite pre-workout snacks.
Give them a try and leave a comment below to let us know which is your favorite.
We also love hearing about new recipes you’ve come up with using our products. If you’ve got one, please share that with us as well.
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