Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for some, but for those who manage to squeeze some gym time into their routine, pre- and post-workout foods can be just as huge. While everyone's nutritional requirements are different depending on their goals and activities, these snacks can offer the right balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein to satisfy hunger, fuel workouts and aid in recovery.
The body works to build muscle and recover 24 hours a day, not just during that one-hour session at the gym. Luckily, smartly timed snacks can give the body the fuel it needs to gain muscle, burn fat and recover as best it can.
Check out these 25 options to start things right:
1. Perfect Yogurt Parfait
Feeling fancy, huh? Top ¼ cup nonfat yogurt with ½ cup whole grain cereal and ½ cup fresh strawberries.
2. Protein Creamcicle
Put a twist on the classic kids' treat by blending one scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 1 cup orange juice and 1 cup ice. Trainer and fitness expert @JCDFitness does it!
3. Cha-Cha Coconut Shake
Infuse one scoop chocolate whey protein with 2 teaspoons of extra virgin coconut oil. "Girls Gone Strong" cofounder @JenComasKeck loves this!
4. Star-buffs Shake
Need a pre-workout pick-me-up? Greatist's fitness editor suggests blending 1 cup iced coffee (keep the ice) with 1 scoop chocolate whey protein.
5. Dressed-up Oats
Load up on carbohydrates for a longer workout with ½ cup cooked steel-cut oats topped with 1 tablespoon dried fruit and 1 tablespoon shaved almonds.
6. Fruitsation Shake
Blend one scoop of your favorite whey protein flavor with ½ cup ice, and 1 cup frozen berries for a sweet energy boost, suggests strength coach @Roglaw.
7. Yoberries A-Go-Go
8. PB Apple
For a quick carb fuel-up, slice one medium apple and serve with 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter.
9. Classic Fruit Cup
Prefer to keep it sweet but simple? Combine 1 cup berries, melon, banana and oranges — oh my!
10. Dried Fruit
For a quick pre-workout fix, try ¼ cup serving of dried berries, apricots and pineapple, says Greatist Expert Jessica Redmond.
11. Eggs n' Toast
Have a heartier appetite? Try one or two hard-boiled eggs with one slice of whole-wheat toast.
12. Fruit Leather
Need something light that makes you feel like a kid again? Try one single serving of fruit leather.
Have a little extra time? Roll some out in the kitchen.
13. Energy In A Bar
With so many options in the aisle, try opting for a bar with the most natural ingredients. While protein count is key, also check the sugar content. (It shouldn't rival what's found in the candy aisle!)
14. Chicken n' Sweets
For a fast bite, grab 2-4 ounces (or a palm-sized amount) of sliced chicken with an equal portion size of sweet potatoes, suggests Greatist Expert Dan Trink.
15. Oats n' Eggs
Not just for breakfast, try ½ cup cooked oatmeal and two whole eggs seasoned with salt and pepper.
16. PB & B Toast
Fuel up with 1-2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter and half a sliced banana on whole-wheat toast, says Greatist Expert Lisa Moskovitz.
17. Turk-cado Pasta
Add 2-4 ounces (or a palm-sized amount) of roasted turkey and 3-4 avocado slices to ½ cup cooked whole-wheat pasta for some enviable eats.
Spruce up this classic by combining one frozen Kashi waffle with 2 teaspoons of almond butter and 1 teaspoon of jam.
19. Better Than a PB Cup
20. Veggie Omelet
Add a little more color to your diet by combining two whole eggs shaken with 1 teaspoon of water cooked with 1 cup sautéed seasonal veggies.
21. Fruit & Cottage Cheese
Top ½ cup cottage cheese — a low calorie and higher protein option — with ½ cup fresh pineapple, berries or melon. And voila!
22. Rice con Leche
Got a long way to run? Fuel up with ½ cup cooked rice, covered with ½ cup milk, a scatter of raisins and a dash of cinnamon on top.
23. Sports Drink
An 8-ounce low sugar sports drink (keep it under 10 grams of sugar) will do the trick if you're in a crunch. For a little more fuel, add a scoop of BCAA powder — branch chain amino acids that help maintain muscle and tissue health.
24. Hearty Salad
Need some greens? Try 1 cup of salad greens with assorted veggies, one hardboiled egg and a drizzle of EVOO and vinegar, or your favorite low-fat dressing.
25. Energy Gel
Got a long way to go? Slurp down a energy gel (like Gu) prior to an endurance workout.
This article originally appeared on Greatist.