Diet and fitness go hand in hand. A meal an hour before a strenuous workout will enable you to be more active. Taking a walk after you eat can help with digestion. In some cases, working movement into your day may mean skipping a traditional meal and eating on the move.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has a handy article on the connection of diet and exercise. To lose weight, exercise 3-4 hours after eating. That way your workout will burn more fat. According to the ADA, the best way to lose weight is to eat whole foods every 4-5 hours to maintain the calories needed to fuel your day, but to burn more calories than you take in.

For high-intensity activity designed to build stamina and muscle, a post-workout meal will heal and replenish your body. A sensible post-workout meal will also prevent the risk of crashing and overeating later.

The Mayo Clinic offers five tips for eating and exercise.

  • Eating a healthy breakfast of carbs (whole-grain cereals, yogurt, bananas) will help fuel exercise.
  • If you’re planning a workout within an hour of a meal, make it a light meal or snack.
  • Snacks before or during a strenuous workout can keep you moving.
  • Post workout meals should include carbs and protein (yogurt, fruit, a peanut butter sandwich) to help muscles heal.
  • Drink fluids throughout the day, especially before, during, and after exercise.

Here are a few tips on healthy snacks you can consume on the go.

Homemade Trail Mix

What could be more simple, customizable, and healthy than a mix if your favorite nuts, dried fruit, and seeds? LeanGreenDad has a simple trail mix recipe that is quick to make, portable, and healthy.

  • ½ cup dry roasted nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, etc.)
  • ½ cup roasted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
  • ½ cup dried fruit (raising, cranberries, cherries, etc.)
  • ½ cup sugar-free chocolate (chips or chunks)
  • Mix thoroughly and separate into ½ cup servings.

Vegan Protein Bars

A chewy alternative to trail mix is an energy bar. While many pre-packaged energy bars are available, making your own guarantees that you know exactly what is included. This recipe from Feel Good Foodie is packed with plant-based protein and is gluten and dairy-free.

  • In a food processor, blend ½ cup vegan peanut butter, 8 pitted dates, ¼ cup almond milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Add 1.5 cups rolled oats, ½ cup protein powder, ¼ cup ground flaxseed and ¼ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth.
  • Fold in ¼ cup dark chocolate chips.
  • Press the mixture evenly into an 8-inch square oven-safe pan lined with parchment paper, flatting the top by hand or with the back of a spoon.
  • Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Once the mixture has set,  you can lift it out of the pan with the parchment paper, cut into bars, and serve.

Protein Smoothie

The National Sports Center offers chef Brad Beal’s “Protein Packed Smoothie” as a worthy post-workout meal.

Blend the following until smooth:

  • 1 sliced banana
  • 2 scoops of protein powder
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • 1 apple, pealed and sliced
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoons honey.

A health coach can help you reach your diet and fitness goals by suggesting improvements to your routine, setting achievable goals, and providing encouragement. It’s a free service for established Kinwell patients. Ask your clinician about health coaching through your MyChart app. If you’re new to Kinwell, schedule your first visit at