Hungry for nutrition enlightenment, or well, just hungry? Whether or not you should eat before your morning yoga class is a question that tends to divide the opinions of yogis. Many say that you shouldn’t eat two hours before a class (disqualifying early risers who love doing their yoga first thing), however others suggest there is value to getting a bit of nutrition before you hit the mat, as long as the food you’re putting in your body supports your practice. Here are five simple and ready to eat snacks that make our list of go-to foods, and are worth considering if you’re looking for some sustenance before your next yoga class.
We mention bananas first in case you’re rushing off to a class right now and only have time to read the first suggestions — bananas have been called natural PowerBars, and for good reason! As a primary source of energy for your body, bananas are full of easily-digestible healthy carbohydrates and potassium — just one banana before a workout can function to provide fuel for your body, and helps maintain muscle function. That’s really all you need to know.
A handful or two of raw (unsalted, unflavoured) almonds is one of the easiest and most beneficial snacks to eat before any workout, however this snack is especially great for yogis because they can keep your metabolism rate high, and require absolutely no preparation. Almonds are considered the most beneficial nut by experts as they have the highest level of protein and the lowest amount of fat, allowing you to get the most from your morning yoga session without bogging you down.
Apple (plus nut butter)
What’s the saying? An apple a day, something something good health!? Apples are great for many reasons — primarily because they contain a higher level of fructose than glucose for sustained energy that won’t prevent burning of fat. But, for a more energetic option in the morning, combine an apple with two tablespoons of your favourite nut butter. Peanut butter is the classic and probably already in your fridge, but others nut butters such as cashew butter or almond butter (read above) actually contain more protein and healthy fat to keep you from feeling hungry, and provide the energy you need to get through any asana.
Less of a snack and more of a hydration element, Coconut water works for a number of reasons and can be enjoyed before, after or even during your yoga class. Especially for Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga, which have your body sweating and depletiong itself of electrolytes, coconut water helps keep you hydrated and replenishes your body naturally. If it’s not so much a hunger issue that’s brought you here, coconut water could be your go-to for quick nourishment before (and after) every class.
Your reward for reading all of our suggestions? Dark chocolate is actually one of them. If you ever feel like you’re suffering the exhausting effects of a low blood sugar level, dark chocolate (in moderation) is one of the healthiest ways to rapidly bring blood to your brain and help you focus on your yoga. Dark chocolate also has the added benefit of increasing the amount of antioxidants in the body. Keep in mind this refers to chocolate made with pure cocoa (containing at least 70%), not the sugary goodness you may normally find next to the checkout.
Let us know what your favourite yoga snacks are in the comments below and on our Facebook and Twitter pages — We love to hear from you! And remember to keep your soul nourished through your yoga, and your body, too.
Keep moving, be… nourished.