What to eat before and after workouts to keep your energy levels high
Credit: Photography Randy Mayor \ Styling Melanie J. Clarke and Jan Gautro

If you keep these items in the cupboard and refrigerator, itwill be easier to eat well before and after exercise. Stock up onfoods that boast high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates andare low in fat.

Smart Snacks
Peanut butter
Hard-cooked eggs
String cheese
Frozen whole-grain waffles
Low-fat chocolate milk
Whole-grain cereal
Whole wheat crackers
Graham crackers
Fat-free or 1% low-fat milk
Low-fat yogurt
Dried fruit
Fig cookies
Sports bars
Almonds and other nuts

The Sports Bar
Sports bars are fine to keep in your gym bag or desk drawerfor a quick snack. Just be sure to read the label, says LeslieBonci, R.D., dietitian for the Pittsburgh Steelers. "Anythingthat's advertised as high-protein or low-carb isn't going to haveenough carbohydrate and might have too much protein and fat to beappropriate before exercise." Some bars also pack as many caloriesas 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.

Drink Up
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends consuming16 ounces of fluid two hours before exercise and an additional 8ounces 20 minutes before working out. For vigorous workouts, sip 4to 8 ounces every 20 minutes during exercise. And drink 18 to 24ounces of fluid within 30 minutes after your workout.