If you’re seeking to improve your overall health through fitness and nutrition, you’ve likely already discovered that adding cashew pieces to snacks can be a great way to increase the nutritional value of your snack habit. You also might already have a workout regiment that you follow to keep you healthy and in shape. However, finding the right combination of fuel for your workouts, both before and after your exercise, can be challenging, even for a veteran athlete. Ask any personal trainer, and they’ll tell you that one of the top concerns and frustrations of their clients is what and when to eat. Everyone is unique, and your age, sex, fitness level, and fitness goals play key roles in what you should eat when. While it might take some trial and error to find which of these workout snacks work for you, we guarantee they’ll all be delicious when you add some extra cashew pieces into the mix.
What Should I Look For in a Workout Snack?
Our bodies require three basic macronutrients in order to survive and thrive. You’ve probably heard various diets refer to counting ‘macros,’ and these macros are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Each of us requires different exact amounts to find the right balance, but generally speaking, you need to strike a balance between the three. Each of these macros plays an important role in keeping you fueled for workouts.
- Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates come in many forms; Sugars, starches, and fibers break into glucose, which our bodies rely on as our primary source of energy. One gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories.
- Fats – Fats are a crucial source of energy for the body. When our bodies have used up all the available carbohydrates, they look for fat stores to burn. One gram of fat has 9 calories.
- Proteins – Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. These amino acids can be used for cellular repair or building new cells, creating enzymes, etc. One gram of protein has 4 calories.
Why Cashews are Great for Pre- and Post- Workout Snacks
Your body will likely crave and need different foods before and after your workout. Typically trainers recommend fueling your body with nutrients that are easily converted into energy before your workout. That means that about two hours before a workout, you should be eating foods that are high in carbohydrates. Two hours gives your body the proper amount of time to digest your food and convert it into fuel.
Once you’ve completed a workout, your body will want something that will help it recover and repair. As your muscle tissues begin to repair and replenish themselves, your body will need food to aid in this process. Your body will need both carbohydrates and proteins after your workout in order to bounce back. The ratio in which you consume these macros depends on your body and your fitness goals. If you’re looking to build endurance, focus on carbohydrates. If you’re looking to add on mass, you’ll want more protein.
Ounce to ounce versus other nuts, cashew pieces are one of the lowest-calorie nuts you can enjoy while still keeping you fueled. Raw cashews have more carbohydrates (8g per ounce!) and less fat than most nuts, which make them a great, lean source of protein and carbohydrates to help fuel your workouts and which is why every athlete needs cashews!
Our Favorite Workout Snacks
For pre-workout snacks that are rich in carbohydrates, we’re reaching for a healthy granola bar loaded with cashew pieces, seeds, rolled oats, cashew butter, a healthy sweetener of your choice, and some dried fruit or chocolate pieces. The blend of fiber, natural sweetness, and nutty cashews and pumpkin seeds make this a powerhouse of healthy goodness that’s also a convenient pre-workout snack.
If you have more time, try a spin on classic oatmeal by making it with plant-based milk, maple syrup, dried coconut, chia seeds, cashew pieces, and dried berries. It comes together quickly but tastes like you’ve spent lots of time and love on it.
For post-workout snacks that want to balance out the carbohydrates and protein, we love reaching for a quick and nutritious protein smoothie. With plant-based milk, frozen bananas, spinach, protein powder, cashew pieces, chia seeds, and vanilla extract, this nutrient-dense smoothie will convince you you’re downing a vanilla milkshake instead.
If you’re in the mood for a proper meal post-workout, a quick, vegan grain bowl can do just the trick. Combine cooked quinoa and tofu with sauteed peppers, tomatoes, cashew pieces, and some seasonings like paprika, cumin, and oregano, and you’ve got a savory lunch or dinner packed with carbohydrates and protein alike.