If you keep these items in the cupboard and refrigerator, it will be easier to eat well before and after exercise. Stock up on foods that boast high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates and are low in fat.
Frozen whole-grain waffles
Low-fat chocolate milk
Whole wheat crackers
Fat-free or 1% low-fat milk
Almonds and other nuts
The Sports Bar
Sports bars are fine to keep in your gym bag or desk drawer for a quick snack. Just be sure to read the label, says Leslie Bonci, R.D., dietitian for the Pittsburgh Steelers. "Anything that's advertised as high-protein or low-carb isn't going to have enough carbohydrate and might have too much protein and fat to be appropriate before exercise." Some bars also pack as many calories as a small meal. Look for sports bars with fewer than 200 calories, about 25 to 30 grams of carbohydrates, 5 to 10 grams of protein, and less than 6 grams of fat.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends consuming 16 ounces of fluid two hours before exercise and an additional 8 ounces 20 minutes before working out. For vigorous workouts, sip 4 to 8 ounces every 20 minutes during exercise. And drink 18 to 24 ounces of fluid within 30 minutes after your workout.