There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re about to burst while twisting, bending, or folding on a full stomach. Equally bad is wanting to surge into a powerful Vinyasa flow or challenging arm balance, but not having enough energy to do so. The key? FOOD!
Food nourishes our bodies both before and after activity. You need to fuel up before physical activity to help your muscles perform at their best, and you also need to replenish your body after movement to repair and restore.
Here are some of the best pre- and post-asana practice food ideas and nibbles to help you start. Let’s nom.
Pre-Practice Food & Drink
Here’s what we’re looking for: foods and drinks that are simple carbohydrates because they are
- Quick-burning sugars to give us energy (in fact, some carbohydrates begin digestion as soon as they touch your tongue!)
- Light and easy to digest food so you won’t get cramps or feel overly full
Generally, you want to wait 2-3 hours after eating to practice yoga. However, if you feel hungry, that’s your body sending hormone signals to get some energy in your tummy, so pay attention to them! These snacks are easily digestible and light enough that they can be eaten 30-60 minutes before class.
- Fresh fruits - the simple sugars in fruits are often digested just as fast as sports drinks, but also come with natural vitamins and minerals
- Melon or cantaloupe
- Dried fruits - these still contain those same sugars, but are more calorie-dense. That means these will fuel you for longer without filling you up as much
- Dried apricots
- 6-8 ounces of fruit juice
- WATER - we’ve all heard it before. Drink lots and lots of it!
Post-Practice Food & Drink
Here’s what we’re looking for: foods and drinks that have proteins and/or electrolytes because they are replenishing, rebuilding, and restoring.
- Proteins aid in muscle repair and growth
- Electrolytes are involved in muscle contraction, neural activity, and maintaining water balance/hydration. They include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride. Electrolytes are lost when we sweat, especially sodium, so it is important to replenish them after your practice.
- Coconut water - electrolytes out the wazoo
- Pickles - a good source of the electrolyte sodium
- Olives - a good source of the electrolyte chloride
- Pumpkin seeds - a great source of the electrolyte magnesium, and also zinc, which is an important mineral involved in tissue and muscle repair
- Kombucha - kombucha is a fermented tea drink. Due to the fermentation process, it contains “good” bacteria cultures known as probiotics; you need these guys in your intestines. Having a vibrant gut bacteria flora aids in the efficient extraction of nutrients out of your food during digestion. Some kombucha brews also contain electrolytes. Go booch.
- Nut butter or whole nuts - no surprises here...these li'l nugs are loaded with protein and nutrients, and that satisfying crunch is obviously a plus.
- More WATER!
What are your favorite pre- and post-practice snacks? Fuel up, and practice on!