8 best foods, meals to eat before, after a workout: Bananas, oatmeal & more

Oatmeal with banana slices and nuts in a white container on a wood table
Proper nutrition both before and after a workout can optimize your physical fitness. (Photo via Getty Images) (jenifoto via Getty Images)

Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand.

If you want to get the most from your workouts, your body needs the right fuel both before and after breaking a sweat.

Proper meals and snacks can give you the energy and nutrients you need to keep your body in tip-top shape.

Read on to learn the foods you should be eating to reap the rewards of each training session.

Best foods to eat before a workout

Before working out, eating something with carbs and protein is ideal.

At this time, you should stay away from foods that are high in fibre, since fibre takes longer to digest and could cause stomach discomfort.

If you haven’t eaten a meal in a few hours, aim to squeeze in a small snack one hour before your workout.

Below are some of the best foods to eat before your sweat session to give you a burst of energy.

Bunch of yellow bananas isolated on white background
Bananas are easy to digest and a perfect snack before a workout. (Photo via Getty Images) (Yevgen Romanenko via Getty Images)

1. Bananas

This fruit has an adequate amount of carbs to give you fuel without weighing you down.

Bananas are easy to digest and a perfect snack before a workout. If you like to exercise first thing in the morning, try eating half a banana for a quick energy boost.

Additionally, bananas are famously known to be a good source of potassium, which can help prevent muscle cramps.

An open peanut butter jar sitting on top of a bed of peanuts.
Peanut butter is a good source of protein before a workout. (Photo via Getty images) (Stock Image)

2. Peanut butter

Peanut butter is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles.

It's also a versatile food which adds flavour to a variety of dishes.

You can add a spoonful of peanut butter to a smoothie, slather it on apple slices or a banana, or spread it on a piece of toast.

Healthy sandwich with turkey, tomato and lettuce on whole wheat bread on a wooden board
Turkey a great source of protein and carbohydrates before a workout. (Photo via Getty Images) (chas53 via Getty Images)

3. Turkey sandwich

A simple turkey sandwich is a great source of protein and carbohydrates.

Depending on the length and intensity of your workout, as well as when your last meal was, you can eat a whole sandwich or just a half before a workout.

Whole-grain or wheat bread is always a good choice, and you can give your sandwich an extra dose of protein with a slice of cheese.

If you’re eating a sandwich as one of your primary meals, add on a piece of fruit and some low-fat chocolate milk for a variety of nutrients.

Greek yogurt in a glass jars with spoons,Healthy breakfast with Fresh greek yogurt, muesli and berries on background
Yogurt is easy to digest before a workout. (Photo via Getty Images) (wilatlak villette via Getty Images)

4. Yogurt

Yogurt, especially greek yogurt, is packed with protein and is easy to digest before a workout.

This is a great option for people who find it hard to eat something before a morning workout, since it’s fast and light.

Flavoured yogurt is often packed with sugar, so it's best stick to plain. Pro tip? Add in some fruit and granola to bulk it up.

Best foods to eat after a workout

Similar to how you need calories and nutrients before training, your muscles need food after a workout to recover.

Try to eat a meal within two hours of working out, or have a snack with both protein and carbs.

A glass container and wooden spoon filled with white quinoa
Quinoa is easy-to-digest and protein packed. (Photo via Getty Images) (Yagi Studio via Getty Images)

1. Quinoa

If you don’t already, add quinoa to your weekly meal prep.

This whole grain is not only a source of complex carbs, but it also has protein.

Add vegetables and lean protein to a bed of quinoa for a complete meal.

Want to know something even better? This easy-to-digest grain is also super versatile and quick to make.

Red berry smoothie with chia seeds in glasses on grey background.
Smoothies have endless flavour combinations. (Photo via Getty Images) (nerudol via Getty Images)

2. Smoothie

Smoothies are a great post-workout snack because they can pack a ton of protein while still tasting delicious.

Adding greek yogurt or protein powder is an excellent way to add additional protein to your smoothie.

Tossing in a carb-heavy item, such as banana or oats, will help your muscles recover after a workout.

Moreover, smoothies are easy to tailor to your personal tastes and have endless flavour combinations.

Scrambled eggs on white plate with a fork on a breakfast table with tomatoes
Eggs are protein-packed and a quick meal after a workout. (Photo via Getty Images) (furo_felix via Getty Images)

3. Scrambled eggs

Just like smoothies, egg scrambles are a great meal that can be made using a combination of ingredients you love.

Eggs bring protein to your meal, so try adding some sweet potatoes for complex carbs and or spinach for additional vitamins.

Complete your scramble with your favourite vegetables and seasonings.

Cooked whole porridge oats in white ceramic bowl isolated on a white background
There are many ways to enjoy oatmeal after a workout. (Photo via Getty Images) (etienne voss via Getty Images)

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal has whole-grain carbs your body uses to refuel after a workout.

You can make a hot bowl of oatmeal and top it with yogurt or fruit, or prepare overnight oats using ingredients like chia seeds, milk and protein powder.

Baked oatmeal is another make-ahead option using your favourite fruits and nuts.

The bottom line

To see the benefits of your hard work, it's important to properly fuel your body both before and after a workout.

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