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 favourites and why you should have them before your next workout.November 18, 2022 4:40 pm March 12, 2021 3:24 pm
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!
Vegan pre workout snack 1: Activated Coconut and Cacao Energy Balls
Energy balls pack a vibrant punch of flavour 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 neutralise 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 flavour 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)"
Vegan pre 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.