It shouldn’t be difficult to answer a question like, “Should you eat before a workout?” Most of us expect a yes or no answer. In reality, the real answer isn’t so black and white. There are advantages and disadvantages to eating and not eating before exercise. The importance really lies in what you choose to eat. Think of your pre-workout meal as fuel. Find out the best and worst pre-workout snacks in this article. Should you eat before a workout?

A couple of things are for certain. It’s not a good idea to work out on an especially full or empty stomach. Your body needs a combination of carbohydrates, good fats and protein before exercise. A stomach full of heavy foods can make you feel sluggish and even queasy during exercise. Chances are if you’ve ever exercised on a stomach full of junk you know how bad it can make you feel. Likewise, an empty stomach won’t help you burn more fat (a major exercise myth). It’s more likely to make you feel fatigued and weak during exercise.

What should you eat before a workout?

If you fuel up with the right foods, your workout is more likely to be a success. As mentioned, the ultimate pre-workout snack contains carbs, healthy fats and proteins. Eat your snack about 30 minutes before exercise to avoid an upset stomach. Read on for exercise fuel favorites:

Toast a slice whole wheat bread. Spread on a bit of natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, pick your poison!). Slice up half a banana and top off the snack. This combination of complex carbs, fats, protein and vitamins will make your exercise routine a bit easier!

Craving something sweet before your fitness routine? Open a cup of your favorite Greek yogurt. Stir in some almonds and a bit of honey. You can even freeze the yogurt over night for extra creamy treat. Greek yogurt contains protein and carbs while almonds bring healthy fats. Be sure to check out the sugar content and avoid yogurts with heavy fruit-flavored syrups. A sugar crash is the last thing you need when you’re lifting weights or running around the track!

Oatmeal works as both of a pre and post exercise treat. Simply heat up your favorite rolled oats and add a bit of honey. Sprinkle blue berries with a dose of antioxidants. A splash of milk adds a serving of calcium to your day. You can even store the oats over night in the fridge for a cool snack.

Peanut butter isn’t the only tasty way to get protein before your exercise. Have you tried sunflower or almond butter? Both of these varieties have healthy fats and of course, protein. Pair a serving a few apple slices for a simple snack.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before, during and after you exercise.

Need more ideas for healthy snacks? Indulge in these grown-up approved taste treats.

What shouldn’t you eat before a workout?

Now we know the question, “Should you eat before a workout?” can almost always be answered with a yes. Still, you can’t just eat any food and expect a stellar performance. Here are some foods to avoid:

Unfamiliar foods. If you haven’t tried it before, leave the taste testing for letter. An upset stomach can ruin your workout.

Heavy, fatty foods. Your body just isn’t made to run and run well on saturated and transfats.

Empty sources of calories like candies, soda, chips and most processed snacks.

Especially salty foods that will make you even more thirsty. Stick to fruits and vegetables with a high water content.