Things to consider

There are a few things to consider before reaching for that protein bar before your workout. It is essential to read the nutrition label to get the facts on what exactly you’re putting into your body, how much of it, and how it might affect the workout you’re trying to accomplish.

Body fuel

Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy and fuel. You’ll want to check out the nutrition label on your protein bar so you can determine if that bar will provide you with the carbs you need to fuel your workout. If you’re gearing up for a longer training session, pick a bar with a higher carbohydrate content. More carbs = sustained energy over longer periods of time. Consume these carbs about 1-2 hours before you train so your body has enough time to process the nutrients to fuel your routine. This insures that your blood sugar and glycogen levels are optimized and raring to go!

Muscle building blocks

Protein translates quite literally to the building blocks of muscle, so it’s important to consider what type of protein you’re getting in your protein bar. These are the 7 most common protein types you’ll find:

Whey isolates are absorbed by the body very quickly, which makes them perfect for body builders or people trying to bulk up or build muscle in their workouts. They yield a very high percentage (min. 90%) of pure protein.

Whey concentrate is another form of whey protein and is the most common form of protein in protein bars and supplements. It helps build muscle, supports muscle recovery, and helps maintain muscle while working out in order to burn fat. It does not yield as high of a percentage of pure protein (like whey isolate) which puts it at a lower price point, but you can reap the same benefits of consuming whey isolate if you consume whey concentrate in higher quantities.

Hydrolysate protein is the highest quality of protein on the market. It is enzymatically predigested for maximal speed of absorption. It’s very easy to digest and feeds your muscles with nutrients instantly so it’s the best option to fuel your routine before a workout!

Casein protein is digested very slowly, which is beneficial if you want to stay fuller longer. This would be another good protein option before a workout because it slowly feeds your muscles over time. So, if you’re planning on a longer cardio or training session, this is your best bet! Casein protein is also high in glutamine which will help your body recover faster and it will also boost your immune system.

This is the go-to protein source for vegetarians & vegans! Soy protein is loaded with glutamine and BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) and is the obvious choice if you’re on a strictly plant based diet and trying to fuel your workout.

Milk protein isolates are loaded with amino acids and consist of both whey and casein proteins. It is typically found in protein blends.

Egg Albumin was a common protein source before protein powders existed. This protein is rich in amino acids and is used in many protein blends and meal replacement products.

Before & After Post Optin Forms

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4 Tips for Writing Better Job Posts (Plus Before and After Examples)

2. Move away from rigid templates and toward more flexible structures

Writing job posts takes time, but Katrina advises against taking one particularly tempting shortcut — the template.

“We instinctively want templates,” Katrina says. “We want a library of 1,500 options that we can copy and paste. But templates are what got us into this trouble in the first place. There are parts of job postings that I can literally recite to you.”

Rather than using a template, Katrina recommends building out a rough structure for your job posts — essentially saying, “This paragraph does this, and this paragraph does that.” This layout will be informed by your conversations with hiring managers, employees, and candidates.

Your three conversations will provide you with an understanding of what’s most important about the job and the structure you develop should reflect those aspects. “For example, if I know that a sales team is very motivated by outcomes,” Katrina says, “I’m probably going to talk about the outcomes we can create in the first paragraph every time I write a sales role. It can be that simple — this is what they care about, so I’m going to do that first.”

This method can be a little daunting at first since it involves trusting your instincts about what candidates want to hear. And while it’s more time-consuming than copy-pasting, it will yield better results. And if you really don’t have the time, Katrina has a compromise.

“I actually suggest that companies that really struggle on time move to something that looks a little bit more like a Mad Lib,” she says, referring to the classic word game in which a player produces a list of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that are inserted into blank spaces in a prewritten story. “This is the bridge between structure and no-go template land. The Mad Lib gives you a really basic format with blanks so you can emphasize that you want someone focused on this versus that.”

If you do swap out your standard templates for more flexible Mad Libs, be careful not to slip back into generic territory. “You need more than one Mad Lib,” Katrina stresses. “If you’re going to take this approach, I actually think you need one Mad Lib per department at a minimum.”

3. Avoid clichés like go-getter and top talent because they don’t speak to the reason people change jobs

On the other end of the spectrum from the template is the overly creative job post.

“There’s a fine line between creative and creepy,” Katrina jokes.

While a little creativity can certainly make your job post stand out, Katrina says people sometimes mistake jargon for fun language.

“I have a whole list of words that I tell people they have to ban,” she says. “Because ultimately what happens is people think they’re being creative and they end up putting a ton of buzzwords in that mean nothing.”

Katrina’s list of banned words and phrases includes classics like rock star, ninja, and superstar, along with go-getter and top talent. The problem, she says, is not so much the words themselves but the disconnect between the emotional response they’re intended to trigger and the way that candidates often feel.

“Take a second and think about how you feel when you’re looking for a new job,” Katrina says. “No one changes jobs lightly. No one wakes up in the morning and goes, ‘Hmm, I’m going to quit my job today.’ You don’t do that. Something bad is happening in your life.”

Connecting with job seekers on an emotional, empathetic level can be incredibly compelling (more on that in a minute). This will ultimately make your post stand out far more than a wacky phrase ever could.

“Write words that mean something to someone who might not be in the best place in their life,” Katrina advises. “They want to be a go-getter. They want to be top talent. But they might not be feeling that right now. Why waste this moment to make an impression on them with something that doesn’t actually mean anything, that might actually make them feel worse?”

4. Mention important soft skills upfront to create an “I get you” connection with candidates

Instead of hunting for ninjas, Katrina recommends talking about soft skills in the first paragraph of your job posts. Since these skills are more closely tied to a candidate’s emotions and inner life, they can make the post feel more personal and relatable.

“One thing you should always have is something that describes the soft skills you’re looking for,” Katrina says. “I think most people go out with this very strict standard of what a job posting should be, and they think that it has to be very professional and polished, and I don’t think that’s what connects with candidates.”

One example Katrina gives is swapping out a line like, “We are a Fortune 500 award-winning hospital that’s hiring nurses in Mayland,” for something more empathetic like, “Nursing is hectic, but at the end of the day, it’s always worth it.”

To see how powerful these small changes are in action, check out this before-and-after job post from one of the recruiters Katrina coached:

7 best pre-workout foods

Confused about what to eat before hitting the gym? Experts tell Lisa Antao the ideal foods
We live in an age where people take working out at the gym very seriously but in numerous cases, they head to their gym on an empty stomach either because they have succumbed to the notion that one shouldn’t eat before a workout or simply because they don’t know what to eat. But this doesn’t mean that you chow down heartily before your workout either. The key is to follow a middle path i.e. eating right at the right time.
Fitness expert Namrata Purohit explains, “Exercising with a full stomach is not ideal therefore eating at the right time is important. Even an empty stomach can distract a person during workout. The major source of fuel for the body is carbohydrate therefore it is ideal to have something rich in carbohydrates. Therefore, one must have easily digestible carbohydrates that can help prevent the hunger during exercise and give you energy.”
Here’s a list of foods that are considered ideal to eat before a workout:
Having oatmeal is great before your morning workouts, when you’re running on an empty stomach and so you can’t have a meal a couple of hours before your workout. Oatmeal is known to settle well and also a great source of energy. If you add a dash of fruits to your oatmeal, even better.
Brown rice with chicken
While a majority of people work out in the mornings before heading to college or work, there are those who hit the gym in the evenings or at night due to time constraints. For them, having brown rice with chicken is a good option. Nutritionist Dr Zainab Sayed explains, “Brown rice is absorbed slowly and a good source of fibre and carbs while chicken is an ideal form of lean meat and protein. Thus, making this combination ideal before a workout. You would require about 200 to 300 calories hence, you can eat about one medium size bowl of brown rice (30 gm uncooked brown rice) with two pieces of chicken.”
Protein shakes
These are very popular among those who hit the gym. Namrata says, “Protein is extremely important for overall development of the muscles, bones and even skin. A protein shake is good if you do not receive adequate amount from natural sources. For athletes and people doing regular workouts, it is fine to have a protein shake after a workout, but not every couple of hours.” She warns that protein shakes can have side effects such as kidney damage. Therefore, one must consult the doctor to know the recommended daily dose of protein intake.
They contain sugar and starch that give energy to the body. They are very rich in carbohydrates. Celebrity trainer Sameer Purohit says, “One medium-sized banana eaten about 45 minutes to an hour before your workout is generally enough to keep you going throughout your workout routine. It’s like adding fuel to the body. But each person should understand his body and cater to his/her own body needs.”
Peanut butter sandwich/Bagel with honey
Yes, you heard it right. But the trick here is to opt for whole wheat or multigrain bread for the sandwich and a whole wheat bagel instead. Honey is an excellent source of natural sugar i.e. energy. In case you’re wondering about the calorie count here, Dr Zainab addresses your concern explaining, “If you’re working out in the morning then have a brown bread peanut butter sandwich, since you have been fasting for the last eight to nine hours.”
Energy/Granola bars
Eating a pre-exercise bar means you’ll have more reserves during a workout. “Energy bars usually have carbs, which is what gives energy to the body. However, make sure your energy/granola bar has minimum amount of fat, proteins and fibre,” says Sameer.
Curds or dahi contain calcium and proteins and a bit of natural sugar present in small quantities. Because it is easy on the stomach and the digestive system, it’s a great option to consume it before an intense workout. Adding some whole grain cereal, fruits or honey to yoghurt will give you a quick energy boost.

18 Ways to Fuel for a 6 a.m. Workout: What Dietitians Eat Before They Work Out

When you jump out of bed at the buzz of your 5:30 a.m. alarm for an early morning workout, eating breakfast might be the last thing on your mind. But after fasting all night, your energy stores are depleted — and the last thing you want to hear during a grueling workout is your stomach growl.

While simple carbohydrates found in sports drinks, energy gels and cereal provide a quick source of energy, they might not sustain you through a longer workout. Pairing these energy-boosting carbohydrates with a small amount of fat and protein is the best way to ensure sustained energy while working out. Adding in a dose of protein floods your bloodstream with amino acids right when you need them the most, allowing for muscle-building optimization. Healthy fats slow the digestion process, promoting a gradual release of energy throughout a longer workout.

The size of your pre-workout meal will vary depending on the length of your workout and your energy needs. Going for a long or high-intensity workout? Consider a more energy dense meal, but keep in mind it may take 3-4 hours to fully digest. A lower-intensity workout will require less energy. Aim for a small meal that can be digested in about 2–3 hours. But, if you’re working out early in the morning, you won’t have 2 hours to spare. Consider a blended option, such as a smoothie. They digest quickly because the blender has already done a lot of the work for your stomach. Another quick option is a 100–200 calorie snack (like many of the examples below); these will take you less than an hour to digest and won’t weigh you down.


Just can’t eat breakfast early in the morning? While you may be used to running on fumes, your performance may be suffering. Luckily, your gut can be trained to accept a light morning meal. Start small with a snack that will be easy on your stomach, such as a banana or a piece of toast. Gradually add onto this meal until your stomach can tolerate it. A little change in eating habits can make a huge difference in your performance!

If you’re ready to amp up your a.m. fuel, check out what dietitians eat before their morning workouts!

18 Ways to Fuel an Early Workout: Pre-Workout Breakfast Recommended by Dietitians


Fruit is a key RD go-to. (Are you surprised?) Tara Gidus Collingwood, MS, RDN, the sports dietitian for the Orlando Magic eats a half or full banana before she heads out for a morning run. Fruit, whether it is fresh, frozen or dried, has quickly digestible carbohydrates that can fuel a morning workout, and it offers a light option if you’re not an early morning eater. For a more filling alternative, Ashley Munro, RD, of A Pinch of Grace, likes to stuff 1–2 dates with 1 tablespoon almond butter “because it’s quick and easy on the stomach.”


If you’re heading out for a longer workout, you need enough fuel to sustain you. Pair a hearty homemade muffin, such as these Almond Butter Banana Oat Muffins, with a small smoothie or a fresh piece of fruit. Freeze these muffins and heat in the microwave or defrost on the countertop overnight for a grab-and-go breakfast.


You can’t go wrong with a classic bowl of warm oatmeal. Packed full of carbohydrates and fiber, oats will give you sustained energy throughout your morning workout. There are endless possibilities for mix-ins, including nuts and nut butters, dried or fresh fruit, yogurt and protein powder. Angie Asche, MS, RD,owner of Eleat Sports Nutrition, uses overnight oats as her go-to early morning pre-workout meal. Simply add oats, milk and a handful of berries or sliced banana to a sealed Mason jar. Place the jar in the fridge overnight for a quick breakfast in the morning. Need some inspiration? Give this High Protein Chocolate Banana Overnight Oats recipe a try.


Smoothies are both easy to make and full of the nutrients necessary for an intense workout. This Tropical Superfood Smoothie provides a boost of antioxidants from superfoods that aid in recovery from the natural stress of exercise. Smoothies can be as simple as a blend of fruit or can include protein powder and vegetables to provide nutrients from all food groups. Try adding Greek yogurt, chia seeds or nut butter. There are endless combinations to experiment with.



These bowls are similar to a smoothie except you can sit down and enjoy them with a spoon. Energy bowls are the perfect combination of energy-dense carbohydrates blended for easy digestion prior to a long workout. The easy preparation is an added bonus at 6 a.m. This Green Energy Bowl blends energizing carbohydrates with walnuts and chia seeds for sustained energy that provides a punch of protein.


Greek yogurt is ideal for athletes; it provides less added sugar (if you opt for plain) and is higher in protein than traditional yogurt, while also providing a great source of probiotics and bone-strengthening calcium. Parfaits are an optimal pre-workout snack that’s easy to digest while providing key nutrients from a variety of food groups. Try this Peach Parfait to energize your next early workout.


Waffles are versatile and easy to prep ahead of time. Simply choose your favorite waffle base (such as bananas, protein powder or whole grains). You can even experiment with different types of flour, like coconut flour for a grain-free option. If you are gluten-free, check out these Gluten Free Blender Waffles. Freeze extras and pop them in the toaster on busy mornings.


This breakfast staple can be made with a variety of grains to provide the carbohydrates needed to fuel your workout. If you don’t have time to sit down and eat them, they are easy to eat on the go, either plain or topped with a little nut butter. Check out this recipe for a Tart Cherry Greek Yogurt pancake that combines the recovery power of tart cherry juice with the protein boost of Greek yogurt. Jessica Levings, MS, RD, of Balanced Pantry, agrees. Her favorite pre-workout fuel is one homemade buckwheat pancake. “I make a big batch and freeze them so I can defrost a few at a time,” she says. “One gives me just enough energy for an hourlong run, plus it’s portable so I can eat it in the car on the way to meet my running buddy!”


This may sound like too much to handle in the early hours of the morning, but breakfast sandwiches are easy to prepare ahead of time, wrap and freeze. Don’t forget to add the veggies; this is an easy way to sneak in a handful of leafy greens or bell peppers. In the morning, simply unwrap your sandwich and microwave for 60–90 seconds.



Avocados in the morning? Yes! They are perfect to combine with whole-grain bread for long-lasting energy that won’t leave you feeling overfull. This Avocado Toast with Kale Sprouts adds the powerful nutrient boost of kale sprouts.


Have you seen this trendy new breakfast? Simply cut a sweet potato (round ones work best) into thin slices, then toast on high for 2–3 cycles. The sweet potato will be soft but not soggy and ready for your choice of toppings. Go sweet and add peanut butter, raisins or cinnamon. Or, try a savory version and top with an egg, avocado or cheese. Sweet potatoes are a great pre-workout pick because they are rich in carbohydrates, high in fiber and provide a boost of vitamin A.


Pizza for breakfast? Why not! Pizza has a carbohydrate-rich crust, and adding eggs, cheese and vegetables can make it a satisfying and tasty way to energize in the morning. Breakfast pizza can be prepared at the beginning of the week and portions can be reheated daily.


Energy bites are tasty and easy to grab if you are not a morning person. “I love energy bites before a morning workout,” says Edwina Clark, MS, RD. “They provide a little bit of protein and carbohydrate to fuel working muscles, without leaving you heavy and uncomfortable.” Have a sweet tooth? Here’s one of our favorite recipes for Cookie Dough Energy Bites.


Instead of swinging by the drive-thru for a fast breakfast option, why not make your own? Breakfast burritos are a quick and easy way to incorporate carbohydrates, protein and whatever else you would like into a hand-held, energy-packed option. They can also be prepared ahead of time and frozen, making them a convenient heat-and-go meal.


Make granola bars on the weekend then use all week. These Tart Cherry Dark Chocolate Granola Bars are filled with lasting energy plus a recovery boost from the tart cherries. If you are a heavy sweater or do high-intensity workouts, you may benefit from the added sodium of these granola bars. To reduce your added sugar intake, try homemade granola. Grab a handful while running out the door, or add it on top of a yogurt parfait or an energy bowl. Here is a fun, breakfast-inspired recipe to try: Blueberry Muffin Granola.


Cookies for breakfast? Don’t worry, these aren’t your typical chocolate chip treat. Breakfast cookies are typically lower in sugar and made with ingredients like whole-grain flour, oats, nuts and dried fruit to make a condensed, energy-packed snack.


Rice cakes topped with nut butter, banana and chia seeds are a complete and easy breakfast. This option combines all the good stuff dietitians love: whole-grain carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein and fruit. “I always have two rice cakes with peanut butter, banana and a sprinkle of chia seeds about 45 minutes before a workout,” says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, of Bucket List Tummy. “It’s a great balance of carbs, with a tiny bit of protein to help sustain me but is easy on the digestive system.” She also adds 16 ounces of water.


To switch up your usual hot cereal routine, try quinoa instead. Quinoa provides the benefits of a whole grain with the added bonus of extra protein. It can be prepared similarly to oatmeal with your favorite add-ins, or you can get creative and try these Roasted Quinoa Stuffed Pears.


> Men’s Workout Tops
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> Women’s Workout Pants

It’s hard to perform your best at the gym or set a new PR when you’re stomach is growling. However, finding a good pre-workout snack can be tricky. Eat too much and you’ll feel sluggish; barely eat and you’ll be hangry.

So what makes the perfect pre-workout bite?

“There’s just not an easy answer,” says Sharon Collison, R.D. at the University of Delaware who is board certified in sports dietetics.

That’s because the right snack depends on a variety of factors including type and intensity of training, goals, timing of your impending workout, and individual tolerance. In fact, some people may not even need a snack.

But there are a few things to keep in mind when determining when and what to eat before you hit the weight room. Here are four things to consider, plus easy snack ideas that you can grab before training. Combine them with some water to help replace the fluids you lose while you sweat.

Embrace carbs

You’ll want to avoid foods that are super high in fat or fiber because they could make you feel sick, says Collison.

“Fat and fiber take longer to digest, so it’s just not comfortable in the gut,” says Collison. “The closer it is to exercise the more you just want carbohydrates.”

Eating carbs before an endurance workout has been shown to improve performance, according to a review published in the journal Nutrients. That’s because when you’re grinding it out in the gym, your body requires a lot of energy, which primarily stems from carbohydrates, while protein helps keep your muscles from breaking down, so it’s important to get that balance right.

Eat at the right time

“I think it’s most important to have a well-balanced meal within 3-4 hours of a workout that is at least of moderate intensity,” says Collison. “And then depending on hunger and/or how long the workout is, a pre-workout snack may be beneficial.”

If you do snack, you’ll want to give your body enough time to process all those nutrients before your sweat session. When you’re exercising hard, your blood moves to your muscles, meaning less of it will travel to the organs digesting your food. This can cause an upset stomach or even decrease your performance if you don’t time things right.

When you pair carbs with high amounts of protein, fiber, or fats, the digestion process takes longer. That means you can eat more protein and fat if you allow yourself more time process all that food. Collison suggests a banana or crackers if you have less than an hour before the workout. If you have at least 60 minutes, go ahead and add some cottage cheese.

Don’t overeat

Everyone needs a different amounts of food to feel satisfied, but Collison says it’s generally safe to go by the following rules:

  • Eat one gram of carbohydrate per kilogram in body weight one hour before working out.
  • Eat two grams of carbohydrate per kilogram in body weight two hours before working out.
  • Eat three grams of carbohydrate per kilogram in body weight three hours before working out.

A snack isn’t always necessary

Not everyone needs to snack, says Collison. “The purpose of a snack is to keep you from starving from the next meal,” she says. As long as you ate a well-balanced meal several hours prior to working out, you will probably be fine. If you’re trying to lose weight, skipping a snack may be beneficial–as long as you’re not hungry, she says.

Snack suggestions if you have less than 60 minutes pre-workout:

  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Cereal and milk
  • Packet of oatmeal made with milk: Collison says you can add raisins, chocolate chips, and fruit, but keep protein to a minimum.
  • Chocolate milk and banana
  • Chocolate milk and granola bar

Snack suggestions if you have more than 60-minutes pre-workout

Peanut butter banana honey sandwich: Spread 2 Tbsp of peanut butter on two slices of whole grain bread. Top with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey.

Fruit parfait: 1 cup of Greek yogurt, topped with 1 small handful of nuts, and 1 cup of berries. This combo offers protein from the yogurt, healthy fats, along with loads of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Fruit smoothie: Blend this to maximize your performance:

  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein (this one tastes incredible and uses no artificial sweeteners)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 1 large handful spinach (trust me on this one)
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • Ice, depending on the consistency you like

Cinnamon banana overnight oats: Combine 1/2 cup whole oats with 1 cup high-protein milk in a jar. Stash away in your fridge and let it soak overnight. Top with one sliced banana, 2 Tbsp of raisins, and cinnamon to taste.

1/2 Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk: Collison recommends Fairlife milk because it has more protein than regular cow’s milk.

Cottage cheese: Add fresh or canned pineapple and whole grain crackers.

Chris Mohr, Ph.D., R.D. Chris Mohr, PhD, RD is the co-owner of Mohr Results, Inc ( a well-being consulting company Melissa Matthews Health Writer Melissa Matthews is the Health Writer at Men’s Health, covering the latest in food, nutrition, and health.

8 Dietitian-Approved Breakfasts Ideal for Post-Workout Refueling

When it comes to breakfast, registered dietitians have got their morning meal on lock. Easy, filling, and straight-up delicious, their go-to creations can provide some tasty, healthy A.M.

inspiration. One key to a delicious breakfast that keeps you powered up till lunch? You guessed it: protein.

“Studies show that protein in the morning helps to prevent cravings later in the day, so while protein is important in general, at breakfast, it’s critical,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D.

If you’re not a breakfast person in general, there’s no need to force feed yourself in the A.M. But if you do find yourself hungry when you wake up, fuel your day with one of these high-protein R.D. picks.

1. Avocado Toast With Eggs

Vladislav Nosick, Getty Images

“If I need something substantial, I’ll top two slices of hearty, whole-grain toast with a little mashed avocado, two sliced, hard-boiled eggs, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Eggs are the obvious source of protein here, but the whole-grain toast adds another six to 10 grams of plant-based protein!”

— Elle Penner, M.P.H., R.D., senior registered dietitian at MyFitnessPal and lifestyle blogger at According to Elle

2. Chocolate Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

“This literally tastes like dessert for breakfast, but it’s packed with nutrition and protein. In a mixing bowl, combine one cup of skim milk, ½ cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, ¼ cup chia seeds, one to two teaspoons of local honey, one to two teaspoons of 100 percent raw cacao powder, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract or fresh vanilla bean. Chop one cup of fresh strawberries into small pieces and grab a glass. the chia seed mixture, then add a layer of strawberries, and continue . Place it in the fridge, covered, overnight. The skim milk, Greek yogurt, and chia seeds all provide protein.”

— Jenny Beth Kroplin, R.D., L.D.N., C.L.C.

3. Egg White Frittata With Cherry Tomatoes, Feta, And Spinach

“Egg whites are a great source of lean protein. Five egg whites provide you with 20 grams of protein and 80 calories. In addition, ¼ cup low-fat feta provides seven grams of protein. Spray a pan with cooking spray and scramble five egg whites with feta, tomatoes, and spinach. Eat with one slice of whole-wheat toast. This breakfast gives you an edge to start your day with a boost of energy that will sustain you till lunch.”

— Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., R.D., author of The F-Factor Diet and founder of F-Factor Nutrition

4. Greek Yogurt With Granola And Maple Syrup

Anna Kurzaeva, Getty Images

“I’m a pretty big creature of habit, so the majority of my breakfasts are the exact same thing: 4-percent plain Greek yogurt with a handful of whichever granola I’m crushing on at the moment, drizzled with maple syrup (because I’m Canadian). The Greek yogurt gives this breakfast its protein, but the fat in the yogurt and the nuts and seeds in the granola also make this meal extremely satisfying. That means I can take off and deal with my busy day without being hungry an hour later!”

— Abby Langer, R.D.

5. Cottage Cheese With Whole-Wheat Toast

“Cottage cheese is a great source of protein. ¼ to ½ of a cup of cottage cheese on two slices of toast. little assembly required! convenient—easy to eat quickly at home before work, or bring and eat at your desk. low-fat, high-protein dairy option.”

— Brittany Kohn, M.S., R.D.

6. Oatmeal With Peanut Butter

“Mix two tablespoons of peanut butter into your bowl of hot oatmeal (made with milk) and top with sliced bananas, cinnamon, and a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt. The peanut butter, Greek yogurt, milk, and oats all pack satiating protein into this bowl of oatmeal. I love starting my day off with this breakfast because it’s the perfect energizing combo of protein and slow-digesting carbs (fiber) to fuel me until lunch.”

— Kara Lydon, R.D., L.D.N., R.Y.T., author of Nourish Your Namaste (out May 2016) and The Foodie Dietitian Blog

7. Smoothie Bowl With Protein Powder

Westend61, Getty Images

“ smoothie ingredients blended and put in bowl, then top with shredded coconut, berries, raw cocoa power, and spirulina. You can add protein powder, like pea or collagen protein, to the smoothie to get even more protein.”

— Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D.

8. Sprouted-Grain Toast With Nut Butter And Greek Yogurt

“A protein-packed breakfast favorite is a piece of sprouted-grain toast topped with nut butter, sliced banana, and a layer of plain Greek yogurt! The yogurt adds a ton of protein to the mix, and while it sounds like a weird addition on toast, it goes quite well with the banana and nut butter.”

— Anne Mauney, M.P.H., R.D., blogger fANNEtastic Food

—By Alexa Tucker

Hero image Manuta, Getty Images; Graphic by Jocelyn Runice

If you have the willpower to work out in the morning, you’re a step ahead of me. I want to be snuggling under my covers until I can no longer ignore the incessant sound emanating from my alarm. But if you’re one of those who gets moving early in the day to get that workout crossed off your to do list, it’s important to reward your body (and those muscles you just fatigued) with good post-workout breakfasts. And it shouldn’t be just any breakfast. As my nutritionist has hammered into my head on the regular, if you’re focused on building muscle, your post-workout breakfast is extremely important. Here are some of the favorites I’ve found during the course of the last few years, as I’ve focused less on weight and more on building strong, lean muscles.

Oatmeal Griddle Cakes

If you’re ready for a breakfast that’s packed with whole grains, fruit, and dairy, it’s time to try making Oatmeal Griddle Cakes. They’re filling and full of protein, and also gluten free! I’m a fan of Jenna Braddock’s Make Healthy Easy blog, so be sure and check out her site for other recipes while you’re checking this one out.

High-Protein Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Another breakfast that relies a lot on oats and dairy is High-Protein Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, which I found courtesy of the folks at Men’s Fitness. With 18 grams of protein, this is one post-workout breakfast that can’t be beat. As a bonus, I can even trick my kids into eating this for breakfast, so it’s a double winner.

Bodybuilder Pancakes

Don’t be scared by the name! You absolutely, positively don’t have to be a bodybuilder to eat these bad boys—but they are definitely not your average post-workout breakfasts. Cristie Brissett’s 80 Twenty Nutrition blog is amazing and filled with so many fantastic recipe ideas and really great nutritional advice. Her Body Builder Pancakes are made with rolled oats, egg whites, and a pinch of cinnamon. You can top them with fruit and Greek yogurt for even more fiber and protein.

Spanish Potato Frittata

You can’t go wrong with eggs and potatoes when you’re trying to get more protein and carbohydrates in your diet. That’s why the Spanish Potato Frittata is worth a try. My kids love potatoes for breakfast, so not only does this represent good fuel for my post-workout breakfasts, it kills two birds with one stone, as they’ll eat it, too. By serving potatoes for breakfast, you’ll even treat your body to some much-needed potassium, which is always a good thing.

High Protein Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake

Shakes aren’t always healthy, but this one from Erin Palinski-Wade, a nutrition and fitness expert (who also happens to be a diabetes expert as well) is. Her blog is on my must-read list and if you’ve not yet discovered her, check out the rest of her site. Her High Protein Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake features peanut butter, bananas, and milk as the main ingredients, can ensure you’re getting enough protein and good fats to battle your hunger after a workout.

Raspberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Another favorite from Men’s Fitness, this is another way to drink your post-workout breakfasts while staying healthy. The Raspberry Cheesecake Smoothie has a good mix of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, thanks to the milk, cottage cheese, and raspberries it has. My kids can’t get enough of this one and I usually fail to mention to them how good it is for them.

Chicken Breakfast Casserole

If you prefer to get your post-workout nutrition from meat rather than baked goods or oatmeal, you’ll enjoy this Paleo Breakfast Casserole from registered dietician Lindsay Livingston at The Lean Green Bean. It has everything from eggs and bacon to chicken and spinach, so you can bet it has plentiful protein for your post-workout meal. By the way, if you’re feeding kids, Lindsay’s written three ebooks on a variety of topics including Food Prep, Feeding Young Kids, and Easy Weeknight Meals that you might want to check out.

Steak and Egg Hash

Another high-protein meat-based meal you’ll love is this Steak and Egg Hash. It mostly consists of, well, steak and eggs—surprise! But it also features onions, cherry tomatoes, and potatoes. With all these nutritious ingredients, you can rest assured you’re getting sufficient fat, carbohydrates and protein in your post-workout meal. This is also one of my meat-loving husband’s favorite recipes of all time, so if that describes you or someone you might cook for, this is a must-try.

Mexican Inspired Shakshuka

Shakshuka is an amazing dish popular in North Africa and Middle Eastern countries and it’s also a terrific breakfast. With a mix of poached eggs, chili peppers, onions, and more, it’s easy to see why so many people around the world are crazy about Shakshuka. As is always the case when creative foodies get involved, there some really unique varieties, such as this Mexican-Inspired Shakshuka from Kelly Jones’ Eat Well Live Well blog that are well worth your time to experiment with. Make this, eat it with a tortilla or some tortilla chips and you’ll be in glad you did!

Turmeric Egg Sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread

Turmeric has been called “the golden spice” and is said to deliver many health benefits, not the least of which is that it’s a natural anti-inflammatory. We all know that eggs are great after a workout, providing tons of pure protein post-workout. But even better? An egg sandwich on some organic bread that’s packed with seeds and grains. Add turmeric to the mix and it’s over the top. This Turmeric Egg Sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread from Nutrition a la Natalie has all the protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and omega-3 fats you need for healthy post-workout breakfasts.

What else can you do to build muscle, other than making sure you eat right post-workout? Feed your bones and muscles with the RDA of Calcium and Vitamin D. How do you do that? Clearly I’m biased, but there’s no better way than by adding Cal-EZ to your daily supplement regimen. Cal-EZ’s flavorless powder can be added to water, coffee, orange juice—or anything you’re drinking. Even better, it can be sprinkled in food (like eggs), oatmeal, pancakes, or added to a smoothie. Want to check it out? Try it for 50% off today using code: FitFormula50

How about you? Are you a fan of early morning workouts? If so, what do you “feed” your muscles post-workout? Have a favorite recipe or food/nutrition blogger we need to know about? If so, I’d love for you to share.

Other Resources on the topic of post-workout breakfasts:

Workout Hacks to Get Your Steps in Even if You Aren’t Counting Them
Top Strategies for Finding the Best Workout for You
FitMenCook Five Day Smoothie Challenge

Photo Credit: mmanuals Flickr via Compfight cc


15 Grab-and-Go Post-Workout Breakfasts

Wise Bread Picks

We cram a lot into our days, and there’s no more hectic time than morning. Between hitting snooze, working out, getting ourselves (and kids) ready for work (and school), and all other sorts of random responsibilities — it’s no wonder an estimated 31 million Americans skip breakfast each day. By now, I’m sure most of us have heard that omitting the morning meal can make weight control difficult, along with a host of issues, like increased risk of heart disease.

If you fall into the skippers category, there’s no better time to change than today. I’ve combed the Internet to find the 15 fastest, most portable breakfasts that are perfect post-workout or just as fuel for your busy day. (See also: Cheap, Quick Homemade Breakfasts)

1. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

This Packable Fruit and Yogurt Parfait is as gorgeous as it is healthy. Just rinse out a Mason jar and fill it with your favorite seasonal fruits, granola, and lowfat Greek yogurt for added protein (17 grams per cup), and you’ll be set for the day.

2. Overnight Oats

If you’d prefer to fix and forget your breakfast, try this Skinny Overnight Oats in a Jar recipe. You can use any milk you prefer (I like almond) and don’t forget those chia seeds. They’re a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, beating even flax, and help keep you full.

3. Mini Quiches

Eggs are always an excellent choice post-workout because they’re inexpensive and good for you. Try making a batch of these Crustless Mini Quiches to enjoy several days of grab-and-go breakfast. They can be eaten hot or cold.

4. Western Omelets

Another genius muffin tin recipe, these Western Omelets are suitable for those of you on the Paleo diet. Plus, who doesn’t love a good wrap of bacon?

5. Eggs in a Mug

If you think ahead, you can stock a few eggs, sprinkle of cheese, etc. in the fridge at the office and pop them in your coffee mug (make sure it’s clean!) to have a piping hot breakfast at your desk. Yup — it’s that simple with Eggs in a Mug.

6. Breakfast Egg Rolls

I’m smitten with this idea to make Breakfast Egg Rolls. If you’re unfamiliar, egg roll wrappers can be found in the refrigerated produce section of most grocery stores.

7. Make-Ahead Smoothies

Set up your blender and pop in one of these Make-Ahead Smoothie Mixes before heading out the door. Without having to fumble around in your fridge, you can make a satisfying beverage in just minutes. (And it costs much less than the store-bought version of this same concept.)

8. Banana Dog

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this one! Banana dogs: Use leftover hot dog buns (whole wheat is best), slap a banana inside with some peanut butter and a squeeze of jam. I could also see making a delicious loaded version with other fresh fruit, chia and flax, and almond butter.

9. PBJ Rollup

This next one — the PBJ Rollup — is labeled as a school lunch. However, I think we can all agree that peanut butter, jelly, banana, and granola sounds just as delicious for a quick and easy breakfast on the go.

10. Mason Jar Pancakes

Use your favorite pancake mix (a whole grain version will keep you fuller, longer), and try out these Mason Jar Pancakes. The recipe says to serve with syrup — but if you want to avoid a sugar crash, use fruit and nut butter instead.

11. Microwave Muffins

If you’d rather craft something more homemade, try Microwave Muffins. They are customizable, so you can go fancy or simple on the spectrum. If you’d like to make them on the regular, consider mixing up the dry ingredients ahead of time and storing in an airtight container.

12. Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

You can buy all sorts of prepared foods, but making your own is way healthier. Take these Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches, for example. They have all the flavor of their store-bought counterparts with much more wholesome goodness.

13. Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Same concept applies with these Freezer Breakfast Burritos. You can use eggs, cheese, and meat — whatever you have. I’d love to try making them with a mix of beans, rice, and veggies for a vegan twist.

14. Retooled Muffins

If you’re looking for energy, it’s best to avoid breakfasts that are high in sugar. Unfortunately, many muffins fall into this category. However, these Quinoa Breakfast Muffins are a great, savory alternative.

15. Energy Bars

Paired with fruit and even yogurt, an energy bar can make a solid, quick breakfast. We have you covered with 20 tasty energy bar recipes that won’t break the bank. There’s something for everyone, and I love making foods in bulk for easy grabbing!

What’s your favorite healthy breakfast on the go? Please share in comments!

Workout before and after

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