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Eating right is the key to getting the best results from the hard work you’re putting in at the gym, in the studio, on the court or wherever you get it done. Here’s a list of nutritious, plant-based foods to eat before and after your workout. You’ll also find suggested Greenleaf items that will give you a powerhouse of nutritional ingredients your body will love – all farm fresh, vegan and organic.

What to eat before your workout

Before a workout you want carbohydrates (carbs=energy) and protein (for muscles to heal and grow) to help your body perform at its peak. Here are the foods you can eat or drink 30 minutes to an hour before your workout to get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you want.

Oatmeal – Oatmeal is pretty much the ultimate pre-workout snack. It helps store glycogen which improves stamina so your body can perform at its best. Oats are complex carbohydrates full of fiber that digest slowly, providing long-lasting, consistent energy throughout your workout. They also contain B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy.

Add some protein to your oatmeal using nut butter, hemp protein and/or chia seeds to help with muscle repair and growth (plus they’re delicious).

Bananas – Bananas are basically workout “superfruits” as they’re low in calories, high in simple, digestible carbohydrates and have lots of potassium. Potassium is essential for maintaining nerve and muscle function and even helps prevent muscle cramps. When you sweat, potassium levels drop, so a banana will help you maintain those levels. Bananas also help keep nutrient levels high, are a great source of energy and don’t make you feel overly full.

If you’re planning on a long, intense workout, you may want to consider having a medium size banana 15 minutes before your workout for endurance.

Fruit-focused green smoothies – A hydrating blend of fruits and leafy greens offer an energy-boosting treat. Fruits are high in fast-burning carbs, giving you a good bust of energy before your workout without the sugar crash. Apples are recommended pre-workout fruits as they’ll provide great energy, hydration and other essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Make sure to add some vegetables into the mix to get a good balance of nutrients.

Almond butter – A protein burst that’s easy to add to your workout snack! Almond butter contains lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that keep you from getting hungry. It also provides lasting energy for long or intense workouts as almond butter synthesizes fatty acids needed for energy storage.

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Recommended Pre-workout Fuel:

  • Banana Coconut Oatmeal Bowl: rolled oats, house-made almond milk, granola, banana, almond butter, pure maple, shredded coconut, cacao nibs, cinnamon, add hemp protein
  • Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bowl: rolled oats, house-made almond milk, granola, apple, cinnamon, banana, almond butter, maple, hemp seeds, add hemp protein
  • Morning Berries Oatmeal Bowl: rolled oats, house-made almond milk, granola, banana, fresh berries, pure maple, chia seeds, cinnamon, add hemp protein
  • Almond Berry Super Smoothie: house-made almond butter, banana, strawberry, blueberry, hemp protein, raw almonds, almond milk, ice
  • Green Solutions Smoothie: apple, kale, spinach, lime, banana, ice, add almond butter
  • Greens Granola Cup: granola over a smoothie with: spinach, kale, apple, lime, banana, almond butter, ice, topped with fresh banana

What to eat after your workout

Your body absorbs vitamins and minerals more effectively after exercise, so it’s the time to load up! 

Avocado – Avocados help the body absorb the great, fat soluble nutrients from veggies and fruit like vitamins A, D, E and K. They also contain monounsaturated fat for muscle repair. This is good fat, so don’t worry. “An ideal recovery meal should also include good fat, which is needed for healing muscles and joints,” says sports nutritionist Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., M.A., R.D., C.S.S.D. and author of Slim Down Now. Avocados provide a suite of B vitamins that jump-start your metabolism and help you get the most out of those healthy carbohydrates and proteins you’re fueling up on.

Quinoa – Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods on the planet, which is great for your muscles that need protein to heal and grow after your workout. It also contains lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Quinoa has almost twice as much fiber as most grains and a slew of vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, riboflavin and manganese. For losing weight quinoa is great as it makes you feel full for longer and is less “energy dense,” meaning it has fewer calories per volume of food.

Pineapple – Pineapples contain bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory that helps muscles recover. They’re also high in vitamin C, a key component in repairing tissue.

Fruits in general contain enzymes the help your body break down nutrients so they can be delivered to tired muscles.

Oranges – Oranges deliver carbs, immune-boosting vitamin C and hydration to your body in a convenient package. They also get you lots of potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte which helps your body restore its fluid levels. So ditch the Gatorade for some real orange juice.

Almonds – Almonds help you build muscle and stay lean. They are high in protein and healthy fats, while reducing hunger and overall calorie intake. University of California, Davis researchers found that snacking on almonds curbs appetite, so you won’t undo all of your hard work by overindulging later on.

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Recommended Post-workout Fuel:

Baja Quinoa Bowl: house quinoa, avocado, jalapeño, black beans, cilantro, tomato, green pepper, cucumber, celery, hemp seeds, chia seeds, sea salt, cayenne

Southwest Quinoa Salad: house quinoa, avocado, tomato, black beans, baby arugula, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cilantro, house-made spicy cilantro dressing

Fields Acai Bowl: acai, avocado, cashews, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, almond butter, cayenne, kale, blueberry, granola, orange, banana, ice

Coconut Avocado Super Smoothie: avocado, coconut oil, shredded coconut, spinach, kale, lemon, raw cashews, almond milk, ice

Pineapple Express Juice: pineapple, ginger, orange, carrot

Tropics Granola Cup: granola over a smoothie with: pineapple, banana, orange, lime, almond butter, coconut oil, ice, topped with fresh pineapple

And of course drink lots of water before and after your workout! 🙂

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