Pre-workout Snacks That Will Fuel You For Any Workout

Do you eat pre-workout snacks? Is working out part of your normal routine? Do you make it to the gym only to feel depleted of energy after a few minutes?

I used to experience this a lot myself. I would motivate myself and drive to the gym, only to feel sluggard a few exercises in. A few years back I started reading more about nutrition and what fueled our bodies. I quickly realized that I needed to add a pre-workout snack to my diet, and much to my surprise it made a huge difference in my energy levels.

Even if you understand the importance of a pre-workout snack, it can be confusing to know what you should eat. Generally, you should want something light on the stomach, but something that will still fuel your body. Eating the right food will keep your blood sugar steady and in turn, give you the energy you need to have a good workout. It will make you perform better and recover faster, which is something I’ve seen happen in my own life.

When and How Much Should You Eat?

Depending on how much time you have before working out, the choices of pre-workout snacks range. Generally, the recommended time frame to eat before a workout is anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes before. I suggest planning ahead of time when it comes to pre-workout foods, that way you can just grab it and go when you’re in a rush.

Below, I compiled a list of pre-workout snacks that will give you just the energy you need for your workout.

Banana

Bananas contain the perfect amount of calories to fill you up and enough carbs to keep you energized until the end of your workout. You can opt to eat a whole banana, which is not only energizing but also filling! If you find that a banana doesn’t do the trick, add some peanut butter to the mix.

This combination is yummy and packed with both protein and carbs to fuel you through whatever workout you are doing.

Oatmeal

spring peas

Oatmeal is a great pre-workout snack because it is rich in carbs and it fills you up quickly. Not only that, but it’s also so satisfying to eat. 

You don’t have to eat oatmeal plain either. Try adding some nut butter on top, or some fruits, to spruce up the taste. It is also great to incorporate low-fat milk into the recipe as well.

I love eating oatmeal with peanut butter, bananas, and chia seeds before my workouts. Since this is quite a heavy snack, give yourself time to digest it before your workout.

Greek Yogurt

This is the ultimate pre-workout snack! Plain Greek yogurt has twice the protein you can find from regular yogurt. They are very filling but at the same time, not too heavy to digest before a workout.

They are the perfect snack to bring with you if you are in a rush and they are easy and quick to eat too! If you have some almonds at home, feel free to mix it with your yogurt for some added fat. You can easily find a 100-calorie pack of yogurt in your local grocery store, and keep them in your fridge for when you need them.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are the perfect on the go snacks. They are packed full of protein and are very easy to eat! Find a good brand with less than 300 calories per pack and stack them up in your pantry or your gym bag.

Bagels

spring peas

If you find yourself extra hungry before a workout and want something delicious and filling, a bagel (preferably made from whole wheat flour) is a perfect choice for you. I love to add some cream cheese on top but I also know people that love adding peanut butter. Adding a topping like peanut butter adds a solid source of protein, which is always good before a workout.

Toast/Cereals

I love eating a slice of toast pre-workout because it only takes a minute or two to put together, and is easy to digest! Cereal is also another good pre-workout snack, mainly because it is easy to make as well. Add some dried fruit into your bowl for added nutrients and flavor.

Smoothies

Making your own smoothie ensures that you know what’s in it, which means no unnecessary added sugars.  Unfortunately, many smoothie shops add so much sugar to their smoothies, taking from being a healthy snack to a dessert.

It’s better to make your own with some almond milk, frozen fruit, and frozen veggies than buy it at a shop. Add some Greek yogurt and peanut butter for some protein, and you’re good to go!

Apple

spring peas

Nothing beats a slice of a nutritious apple. If you’re running late, you can eat it while walking to your gym. Apples are a good source of calories and carbs which are essential for your workout.

100% Fruit Juice

If you don’t feel like eating something, you should try to at least drink some fruit juice instead. Try to reach for an orange juice for some carbs and pre-workout natural sugar.

With all these options, I bet you’ll never work out again without filling in your stomach beforehand. I know that adding a pre-workout snack into my routine has helped me a lot with energy during my workouts, and I bet it will help you as well. Which is your favorite among these? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

While you’re here, make sure to check out another one of my blog posts, “20 Post Workout Foods That Are The Most Beneficial (And Easy!).”

Homemade Strawberry Vinegar

Homemade vinegar is full of nuances and flavors absent from most store-bought bottles. And, it’s simple to make!

While you can make vinegar from a variety of base ingredients, I’m going to cover how to make fresh homemade strawberry vinegar. The end result is a mix of sweet, tart, and fruity; a combination that works great in salad dressings and sauces.

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar is the product of fermentation, specifically the fermentation of alcohol. If you’ve ever experienced a sour bottle of wine, you know what I’m talking about.

While you may not be a chemistry whiz, the basic science behind production is easy to understand.

Technically, vinegar is the result of a two-part fermentation process. In the first step, yeasts convert carbohydrates, such as those in fruit or grains, into alcohol. In the second step, a specific type of bacteria calledAcetobacter ferment the alcohol into acetic acid. This acid gives vinegar its sour taste.

What do I Need to Make Vinegar at Home?

Vinegar is quite simple to make and only requires a few ingredients and tools. To get started you need the following:

  • Low-grade alcohol (wine, hard cider, champagne) OR a carbohydrate source (juice, fruit, grain, etc.)
  • Vinegar mother OR unfiltered vinegar
  • Large wide-mouth glass jar
  • Cheesecloth

How to Make Strawberry Vinegar

Although there are different ways to make strawberry vinegar, I’m going to cover a method that utilizes fresh berries. This method produces a product that captures the vibrant flavor of spring fruit.

Make the Alcohol

To begin, place 2-4 cups of strawberries in your glass jar. It’s fine to use the scraps from the tops of the strawberries, as well as any soft spots. However, avoid using any moldy spots, since they can impart an off flavor into the final product. Gently mash the berries until some juices are released.

homemade strawberry vinegar

Next, dissolve 1/2 cup of sugar in one quart of water. Pour this solution over the strawberries and stir. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and place it in a warm, dark area.

All areas have natural yeasts, so the ones present in your area will enter through the cheesecloth. Once they do so, they’ll start converting the sugars into alcohol. All you have to do is stir the jar each day and check for any surface molds. If you see any mold, remove it. After 10 days, strain out the solids.

Ferment into Vinegar

Now you have unfiltered strawberry wine. At this point, you’re ready to introduce Acetobacter.

For this step, you have two options. You can add a vinegar mother or add 1/4 cup of unfiltered vinegar, such as Bragg apple cider vinegar. At this point, recover the jar with cheesecloth and place it back in a warm, dark place.

Check the jar every day for any molds or off smells. The solution should smell fruity and boozy in the beginning, and eventually, it will smell sour. However, don’t stir the liquid, as this can disrupt the formation of the mother.

acetobacter

Speaking of the mother…don’t be alarmed when a rubbery pancake starts to appear on the surface of your liquid! This is the mother, and although it may look a little scary, it’s essential to the vinegar making process.

After two weeks, you can begin tasting your vinegar in the making. When it tastes sour like vinegar, it’s ready!

Strain out the mother and reserve it for future batches. Store the mother by covering it in a bit of vinegar or sugar water.

If you like, you can use cheesecloth to filter out any sediment from your vinegar. At this point, store your vinegar in an airtight container.

jars of vinegar

A Taste of Spring

Vinegar keeps for over a year, so you can revisit the flavors of spring all year long. Once you’ve mastered strawberry vinegar, you can try making other vinegar out of fruits like peaches and apples. With a pantry full of fruit vinegar, your salads will never be boring again!

If you liked my post on home strawberry vinegar make sure to check out my post on spring peas!

Common Misconceptions and Myths about Plant-Based Diets

Many people find a plant-based diet boring, tasteless, and hard to follow. Some even think that a plant-based diet is expensive and does not provide enough nutrients to stay fit and healthy. I’m happy to say I’ve don’t a bit of research :). I found these are just a few of the many misconceptions and myths about plant-based diets.

Common Misconceptions and Myths about Plant-Based Diets

Fallacies or myths often led people to doubt their dietary choices. Remember, you need to differentiate between myths and facts. In this post, we will bust the myths about the plant-based diet.

Myth 1: Plant-based Diet means to become a Vegetarian

Following a plant-based diet does not mean that you cannot eat animal-sourced foods at all. Many experts recommend including fish, meat, dairy, or poultry in your diet. However, the key is to have them in smaller portions and less often. You can use poultry, fish, or meat as a side dish or garnish with your plant-based main meal.

Myth 2: Plant-based Diet is a Luxury

Another common myth about plant-based diets is that it is expensive.  You will find a wide range of plants, beans, whole grains, and legumes at reasonable pricing. Not only are these packed with minerals, vitamins, and proteins, but they also cost less than meat.

plant-based diet is a luxury

Additionally, rice, wheat, corn, potatoes –all are inexpensive. Some leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, and seasonal fruits are a little pricey. However, you can purchase frozen or canned fruits and veggies; make sure to go for low-sodium options if possible.

Myth 3: Plant-based Diet is Boring

A plant-based diet offers so much variety; all you have to do is explore and experiment.  From beans, nuts, and seeds to pasta, legumes, and noodles, step into the world of amazing, healthy food.

Add in a little spice to make an otherwise boring food into a tasty meal.  You can replace meat with mushrooms or legumes, cheese with blended nuts, and sugary delights with date-sweetened desserts.

Myth 4: It means giving up your favorite Snacks

Well, munching on too many sugary snacks is not good for your oral health in the first place. Instead of eating candies or sugary snacks, you can experiment with vegetables or fruits, and come up with healthy, mouthwatering treats.

myths about plant-based diets

You can consult your dietitian for some innovative, tasty desserts while you are on a plant-based diet. Frozen grapes and berries are good alternatives to sugary popsicles. Plus, unsalted nuts, fruits, carrots and celery sticks are a few healthy snacks.

Myth 5: It does not suffice Body’s Nutrient Requirement

Needless to say, this is also a misconception.  Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans provide all the nutrients that your body needs. You only need to work on the proportion of food; there is no harm in consuming animal-based food as long as it is smaller in portion and less often.

misconceptions of plant-based diets

For most healthy people, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per Kg of body weight.  You can obtain protein from various plant foods, including whole grains, beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, and tofu.

Some Final Thoughts

Many people hesitate to switch to a plant-based diet because of the misconceptions and myths about this healthy diet. Some find it boring; others call it expensive. Of course, you will need to have your own reasoning to try it out. As always make sure to see the advice of your medical professional before changing any of your diets. But when you are ready to dip your toe in the plant-based living waters make sure to head over and check out some of the delicious recipes we’ve gathered :).

Obvious Health Benefits of Eating a Plant-Based Diet

A few years ago, practicing a plant-based diet was a rare thing. But nowadays, it is the new normal! 

The reasons for trying out a plant-based diet are numerous. Many people reduce animal products in their diet to take a stance against animal cruelty or as a way to help the environment. Increasingly, people are adopting a plant-based diet for their health!

In the last decade, numerous health studies have come to light about the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet and cutting out animal products. 

In this article, we’re going to be talking about the most obvious health benefits of eating a plant-based diet!

What is a Plant-Based Diet?

First things first, let’s define a what it means to be plant-based!

A plant-based diet is exactly what it sounds like, a diet based around plants! This diet restricts or eliminates animal products altogether, as well as harmful things like refined sugar and other processed food. 

There are multiple types of plant-based diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, and pescetarian, but the important thing is that is focuses on the following five food groups:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Tubers
  • Legumes
  • Whole Grains

Now that you know the staples of a whole food plant-based diet, let’s talk about the benefits!

Whole Food Plant-Based Diet for Weight Management

It is a well-known fact that obesity is on the rise for people of all ages, especially in the United States! The culprit to this problem is sitting right on our plates.  

The standard American diet is full of red meat, refined sugar, fried foods, pre-packaged foods, and other unhealthy staples. This all contributes to weight gain. 

Being overweight can lead to health issues such as increased risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and cancer. 

Studies have shown that people who eliminate meat end up intaking far more nutrients as well as achieving successful weight management. A good place to start looking into this research is by looking into the Nutrient-Dense Approach to Weight Loss Management

The great thing about a plant-based approach to weight management is that it is less about what you “can’t” eat, and more about incorporating new foods into your diet!

A plant-based diet is not a “quick fix” for weight loss, it is a long term lifestyle switch to help you maintain a healthy weight for the entirety of your life.

 Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Other Diseases

In its current state, the health care system helps treat symptoms instead of prevent illness. 

The best way to prevent disease is by fueling it with a whole food plant-based diet. Here are the diseases and issues that this diet can help with:

  • Heart disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cognitive Decline

To learn more about the research behind a plant-based diet and disease prevention, here are a few great resources to get you started:

A Healthy Immune System

In a society that is very focused on calories and macronutrients, (carbs, proteins, and fats) we tend to miss out on the most important thing- nutrients.

Eating a plant-based is not only going to keep you in a healthy calorie range, it is going to ensure you are getting enough iron, calcium, vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and other essential nutrients!

A healthy immune system is what protects your body from harmful bacterias and viruses. It is your body’s first line of defense, so make sure it has the armor it needs.

The Health Benefits of Eating a Plant-Based Diet

Eating a whole food plant-based diet is a way to prevent and treat diseases, manage your weight, and maintain a healthy immune system. 

Many people report that the health benefits have transformed their lives in ways that they couldn’t have imagined! 

But don’t take my word for it! Try eating a plant-based diet for yourself and see how it feels. 

Enjoy reading about health and food? Make sure to check out the blog for more!

Spring Peas

As the weather warms and the ground thaws, it’s time to start thinking about eating and maybe even planting spring peas. By performing the small act of planting some seeds, you’ll be rewarded with climbing tendrils and sweet snacks that both you and your kids will love.

spring peas

Before you plant your spring peas, it’s important to understand the different types. Yes, there are different types of these veggies!

While there are hundreds of different individual varieties of peas available – including purple and yellow pods – there are three main categories: snap, snow, and shelling.

Snap Peas

snap peas

Often called sugar snap peas, these crunchy little veggies are seriously sweet! Since they’re one of my favorite spring treats, I find it hard to resist eating all of them as I’m harvesting.

When some do make it to the kitchen, I love to pair them in a salad with mint and lemon. The freshness of the mint and the sourness of the lemon balance out the sweetness of the peas.

Snow Peas

snow peas

Snow peas differ from snap peas in their pod shape and pea size. Snow peas have flatter pods that you should harvest when their peas are still small.

They taste similar to snap peas, but they’re a bit less sweet.

A great way to use snow peas is in a simple stir fry. Saute some minced onion, ginger, and garlic in oil on medium heat. Once these become fragrant, add in snow peas, sesame oil, and soy sauce and cook just until the peas are warm – about two minutes.

Shelling Peas

shelling peas

Also known as shell peas or English peas, these plants produce large, sweet peas encased in a tough pod. Unlike snap and snow peas, you don’t eat the entire pod.

These peas do take some work to eat since you’ll have to remove the individual peas from their pod by hand. However, this is a great activity for kids or a reason to get a group of friends together.

One of the best ways to prepare shelling peas is to simply saute them in some oil. They’re great with roasted or mashed potatoes.

How to Plant Peas

No matter what type of peas you choose to plant, it’s easy to grow your own.

These plants like cool weather, so plant seeds as soon as you can prepare the soil. Depending on where you live, this is typically some time in February, March, or April.

Plant seeds two inches apart and 1/2 inch deep. Once the pea plants are a few inches tall, they’ll start looking for something to hold on to. So, it’s a good idea to provide a trellis. You can weave a string between two sticks or t-posts, or you can build a teepee structure with bamboo or sticks.

About two months after planting your seeds, you’ll start seeing peas that are ready to harvest. Make sure to pick the peas a few times a week, as the pods mature quickly!

Snap to It

Now that you know about peas and how to grow them, it’s time to get started adding these to your garden. Even if you can’t grow your own, look for peas at local markets during April-June.

If you don’t know it already, you’ll soon learn that a fresh pea is one of spring’s sweetest treats!

If you like to garden, make sure to check out our other wonderful posts around growing your garden and 13 gardening hacks.