Snacks are extremely essential for fitness enthusiasts and athletes, especially when they are training or playing. A healthy snack not only fuels our body and boosts energy levels but also provides nutrition in the form of micronutrients to minimise muscle damage, and amplify athletic performance.
“They provide our body with essential nutrients required during workouts, for energy metabolism. Some people are in a habit of exercising without consuming sports drink or snacks, but doing so may increase the likelihood of getting ill or injured,” said Aman Puri, founder, Steadfast Nutrition.
Here are some healthy, quick, and yummy snacks which help curb hunger, ward off fatigue, and recover faster.
Bananas are the most popular and fondly consumed snack. Their high carbohydrate content provides energy and potassium which help prevent muscle cramps, and support muscle and nerve function. Bananas are best for when you want to grab something quick, say 30 minutes prior to exercising.
Oats are rich in soluble dietary fibre named beta-glucan, which helps maintain our energy levels as a result of the sustained release of carbs in our body. Oats can be consumed with water or milk. To enhance the nutritive value, fitness lovers also prefer adding a scoop of protein powder, nuts, and raisins to it.
Fruit smoothies are yummy and packed with nutrients. One can easily experiment with different fruits and veggies to make smoothies as per their liking. Choose Greek yoghurt as it is high in protein and contains few carbs. Blend some fruits in yoghurt to get a perfect combination of healthy carbs and proteins.
Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbs which deliver sustained energy for a longer duration. This helps prevent our energy levels from dipping, making them the perfect snack to consume before an active workout session. The presence of vitamin A and C makes them a powerful antioxidant, helping in reducing oxidative stress and free radical damage.
Homemade granola bars
Unlike packaged bars, homemade bars are economical and not loaded with sugar. Use multigrain cereals, dry fruits, seeds, dates and nut butters to make them. Granola bars are a great fuel source to support your efforts and gain an additional dosage of stamina.
It comes with the benefit of proteins and good fats. Peanut butter can be consumed as it is, and even as a sandwich spread. If you are likely to consume peanut butter sandwich 30 minutes prior to your workout session or a game, then have it with white bread. For longer gaps, one can choose multigrain bread along with chia or flaxseeds for additional nutrition.
Beetroot juice works as an excellent sports drink. It contains natural dietary nitrates which get converted to nitric oxide in our body. This causes vasodilation resulting in a better supply of oxygen and nutrients to our muscles. It helps increase endurance and provides stamina. So drink a glass of fresh beetroot juice 20-30 minutes before going for exercise.
Protein powders are not only nutritious but also come with an additional advantage of convenience. Being a good source of complete protein, protein powders are a reliable healthy snack. These days, protein supplements are also enriched with vitamins, minerals and special ingredients acting as a source of quick and healthy snack providing nutrients in a balanced proportion.
A homemade trail mix is an excellent snack to reap the benefits of both macro and micronutrients. Homemade trail mix can be made simply by mixing almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, dried berries, raisins along with seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, melon seeds, etc. Nuts and seeds are power-packed with good fats and proteins. Dried berries, raisins along with nuts increase energy levels and also deliver ample amounts of vitamins and minerals, all of which work together in augmenting athletic performance.
Another healthy snack on the list is hard-boiled eggs. Eggs are incredibly nutritious and offer protein of high biological value. Similar to egg whites, egg yolks are also packed with nutrients like choline, vitamin A, iron, vitamin B12, and folate. In order to compensate for carb content, one can also opt for boiled egg tortilla wraps.