granola 

You’re on your way to losing weight—you know, those pesky five pounds before the big trip this summer—and you’ve been diligent about hitting the gym or the trails in between work and beach days. Have you been as diligent about fueling your body properly during those workout sessions? Get the skinny on the best foods to power you through your workouts this summer – both before and after – and try a few recipes to make your workout snack sessions a cinch.

Working out is difficult as it is, finding the momentum to push your body to its limit day after day. And if you’re not feeding yourself properly for those sweat sessions, you can end up damaging yourself during a workout—or at least giving yourself a tummy ache during Warrior Pose. “Linda RD,” a registered dietitian with a great nutrition blog, gives fabulous advice for fueling your body pre- and post-workout.

Pre-workout

Your body doesn’t need a full meal before a workout, especially if you’re hitting the gym first thing in the morning. If you’re exercising later in the day, however, give yourself anywhere from 1 to 4 hours after a full meal before you work out, depending on how heavy and fatty the meal is. As for snacks, anything small in the range of just 100 to 200 calories is perfect to fuel up your body and should be eaten about 30 minutes before you start moving. Linda RD recommends high GI (glycemic index) foods which are easily digested—these are usually higher carb foods. Try real fruit juices, fruit smoothies, fruits, and high-carb energy bars.

Get started with these recipes for your pre-workout menu planning:

5 Naturally Sweet Energy Bars

Blueberry Banana Smoothie with Organic Whey

Rustic Steel-Cut Organic Oatmeal

Post-workout

After you’ve worked up a good sweat and your body is in need of refueling, carbs are your best friend, and protein is your good friend. Fat isn’t as much of a friend in this case, as your body doesn’t actually require much fat during workout recovery. Stick with snacks that are about two-thirds carb and one-third protein. Yogurt with fruit, peanut butter toast, tuna on rye, or trail mix are all great choices that give the ideal ratio of carb and protein with relatively little added fat.

Get started with these recipes for your post-workout menu planning:

Superfood Gluten-Free Granola

A Simple Summer Pasta Salad

Organic Egg Salad

Image: Burger Baroness