To eat, or not to eat before yoga? While the answer to that question largely depends on your personal preferences, your own body and the type of yoga you plan to do, it’s usually a pretty good idea to energize yourself with something small prior to hitting the yoga mat if you’re running on empty.
Since yoga involves so much bending, twisting, stretching and balancing, it’s important to avoid heavy meals that might cause digestive discomfort or sluggishness. If you’re ready to get down in downward yard first thing in the morning or several hours after your last meal, try fuelling up with a light snack of about 100 to 300 calories a half hour beforehand to help invigorate your body and get your mind focused.
Nuts contain protein, healthy fat, carbs, fiber and a wide variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals. You could even throw in some seeds, dried pieces of fruit, or dark chocolate pieces for an extra boost of flavor and nutrition.
Rich in potassium and magnesium, bananas are widely known as one of the best pre-workout snacks for their fast digesting sugars and ability to help you stay hydrated. Best of all, bananas are super portable!
Smoothies are one of the best ways to pack a ton of nutrients into one snack without being overly filling. Try an energizing green smoothie by mixing a few green apple slices, chunks of honeydew melon, leafy greens like spinach or kale, kiwi slices and lemon juice in a blender with some almond milk and a few ice cubes.
Whole grain toast
Toast is an easy solution to getting the carbs you need to sustain you through your yoga session, and whole grains will have fiber and nutrients that help balance blood sugar while offering a bit of protein too. Add a tablespoon of natural almond or peanut butter and you’ll be good to go.
Plain oats are nutrient-dense complex carbs that do wonders for your heart and your digestion. Although great for boosting energy, oats can also be quite filling, so stick to consuming no more than half a cup of the cooked stuff 30 minutes to an hour before you’re ready to do some yoga.
Plain Greek yogurt
For a generous helping of protein, try eating a small serving (about 1/3 cup) of Greek yogurt with some fresh fruit for some and maybe a little drizzle of honey for some carbs. Bonus points if you choose a yogurt with live active cultures for gut health.
Yes, chocolate can totally fuel your yoga workout! It helps regulate blood sugar and activates the brain to boost your mood, alertness and concentration. Make sure you select a type that’s at least 70% cocoa and keep your portions in check.
Fruits are often regarded as a great pre-workout snack for their natural sugars, and in dried form, they’re easy to eat when you’re busy and on the go. Be sure to stick to fruits that are low in acidity like apricots, dates or mangos.
Veggies and hummus
Low-sugar/high-water veggies like cucumbers, celery and bell peppers will fill you up just enough. Add some hummus for some extra protein and carbs, but be mindful of how much you use–this stuff may be super nutritions, but it also hides a lot of fat and calories in a single serving.
Just Plain Water!
Okay, so water isn’t really a snack, but it may be all that you really need if you struggle to flow comfortably through each yoga move with even a little bit of food in your stomach. In fact, it’s traditional to practice yoga in the morning on an empty stomach, so don’t feel bad about skipping a snack if you know you’ll perform best without it.
Whatever you decide to snack on, always remember to keep your portions small and allow it some time to digest. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different foods to see which ones energize you the most!
Image (edited) via Iryna Yeroshko