If you’ve recently started a regular yoga practice, you may wonder when and what you should be eating to go along with it. Is it important to be a vegetarian? Do you need to be vegan to be a yogi?
I am personally not a vegetarian or vegan. I grew up in Idaho where meat and potatoes were our staples; but that being said, a majority of the foods I eat tend to be fruits, vegetables, healthy whole grains, and organically sourced proteins. I try and just listen to my body. If I really do need some iron, I will indulge in grass-fed meat once or twice a month.
The best thing about yoga is it really helps us tune in to our true hunger cues and find a healthy weight. ~Kristin McGee
When to Fuel
When you’re practicing yoga, you need a steady source of whole grain carbs to fuel you as well as lean proteins and healthy fats. Try to eat at least two hours before you practice so you can breathe easily and so that your body isn’t focused on digestion.
If you must have a little something right before a class, I understand. I have low blood sugar too sometimes, and a handful of raw almonds, half of a banana, or some raw cashews and raisins are all good options for this situation.
Here are my favorite healthy snacks which complement my yoga routine.
1. Almond Butter Banana on Sprouted Cinnamon Raisin Bread
I love Ezekiel bread, especially the sprouted cinnamon raisin English muffins or bread. Just smear a tablespoon of almond butter (or any nut butter) on top and then add some thinly sliced banana. You can even drizzle a bit of honey or maple syrup if you like a little sweetness. This is a great vegan or vegetarian option if you don’t eat animal protein.
2. Deviled Eggs
They might sound diabolically complicated, but deviled eggs are just hard-boiled eggs with Greek yogurt, turmeric, and chives.
Simply remove the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs and mash them with plain Greek yogurt. Add a dash of turmeric and cayenne if you like spice, then place the mixture back in the egg whites. Sprinkle your chives on top.
Eggs in general are a great snack or meal because the protein helps sustain you and they are easy to digest. They are also a great vegetarian option.
3. Plain Yogurt with Berries and Cinnamon Protein Powder
I love yogurt and berries. If I’m craving something a little naughty, it always satisfies my sweet tooth. Siggi’s is one of my favorite brands, and I top it with any berries I have on hand along with a dash of cinnamon. You can also add some chopped walnuts, flax seeds, or chia seeds as well.
4. Cottage Cheese with Pineapple and Sunflower Seeds
Cottage cheese is a true powerhouse of protein. Add some pineapple sweetness and some yummy sunflower seed crunch, and it becomes a really tasty treat! Another option is to broil this combo on top of a piece of whole grain toast and make a healthy cheese Danish.
5. Homemade Granola Mix
Make your own trail mix or toasted oats by mixing some homemade granola with unsweetened coconut, puffed rice or millet cereal, nuts, and dried fruit. My favorite combination is with cashews and dried cranberries or blueberries.
I like this for a portable snack or to leave in my yoga bag so I can have a good healthy choice on hand whenever I’m feeling a dip in energy.
6. Rye Bread with Avocado, Cherry Tomatoes or Strawberries, and Sea Salt
Avocado is an amazing and healthy monounsaturated fat that helps you feel satiated and energized for hours. I love to mash avocado and spread it on toast or thin rye crackers with some salt and pepper. You can also top it with thinly sliced cherry tomatoes or even strawberries for a sweet and salty kick. Even just a half of an avocado with lime juice, cracked pepper, and sea salt is a great snack.
7. Protein Shake
Protein shakes are the perfect post-yoga recovery drink and can be a great pre-yoga choice, especially if you are about an hour away from a practice. Vega makes a great vegan protein powder from pea protein, or you can also use a soy, whey, or hemp-based protein powder.
Mix it with almond milk (or the milk of your choice) or simply add water. Then, blend with ice, berries, frozen banana, peaches, cherries, or any other fruit you like.
I hope you enjoy these tasty options. Feel free to tell me some of your favorite yoga snacks in the comment section below!
Image Credit: Dove Discoveries