When deciding what to eat before a workout, many things come to mind: oatmeal, bananas, smoothies and bagels. While those standards are fine, it might be time to take your pre-workout fueling game up a level with toast.
Forget crisp white bread tossed carelessly on the side of your breakfast plate, toast is an evolved ‘it’ meal that’s earned a place at the center of your plate. The current toast trend may have started with avocado toast, but now it encompasses a wide range of colorful and creative bases and toppings that not only make them fun and tasty, but also greatly add to the nutritional value.
Aim to eat your toast about 1 1/2–2 hours before your workout to allow the food to digest enough to not cause gastric issues. It’s always best to experiment with your personal nutrition choices before workouts to get a sense of what works best for your body.
With so many options, it can be tough to decide which toast variety you’re in the mood for, which is best for your general diet and, of course, which helps your performance.
Topping: Nutella and banana
RD tip: This low-fiber, low-protein combo is packed with energy your body can burn immediately.
Best for: Choose this if you’re about to go for a fast run, spin class or HIIT session.
Topping: Avocado and egg
Bread: Sprouted bread
RD tip: This combo is balanced with complex carbs, protein and healthy fats to provide ultimate satiety.
Best for: Eat this before a heavy lifting session or going out on a long endurance ride or hike.
Topping: Ghee and jam
Bread: Sourdough bread
RD tip: Ghee adds a bit of CLA, conjugated linoleic acid, that helps promote weight loss while adding a sense of indulgence and comfort to the toast. A bit of jam lends quick-burning carbohydrates to fuel your body in a hurry. This option can help you feel calm, happy and ready for anything.
Best for: Try it before a swim, yoga or Pilates session.
Topping: Smoked salmon, herbs and lemon
Bread: Pumpernickel bread
RD tip: This lean, energizing mix gives you a mental boost to get through a technical, skill-based workout.
Best for: Horseback riding, a ropes course or golf.
Topping: Cream cheese, honey, dates and coconut shreds
Bread: Half of a whole-grain bagel
RD tip: This loaded meal has enough quick sugar from the dates and honey to power you through intense bouts. Cream cheese adds a slow-burning endurance factor while the coconut gives a touch of medium-chain triglycerides to ramp up your energy-burning power.
Best for: Eat this power-packed toast before a soccer, hockey or basketball game.
Topping: Almond butter and maple
“Bread:” Sweet potato
RD tip: Ditch the bread and use slabs of sweet potato for the base. Spread on almond butter and drizzle a little maple for a sweet but filling meal. This satisfying option is great for fueling the body for endurance power.
Best for: Try this before a climbing session, hike or kayak trip.
Topping: Goat cheese and edamame
“Bread:” Sweet potato
RD tip: Again, sweet potato acts as the base to provide a complex carb that fills you up without weighing you down. Add a spread of goat cheese and smashed edamame for a protein boost that keeps you going for hours.
Best for: A good option to fuel weightlifting, a tennis match or a baseball game.