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5 Reasons Cookies Are the Perfect Workout Fuel (Plus Recipes!)
The best time to nom on a cookie? Right before your workout. Eat a snack one to two hours before exercising to boost your energy and prevent mid-workout stomach grumbling, says Tara DellaIacono, Registered Dietitian at Clif Bar & Company. Here are five reasons that make them the perfect workout fuel—cookie recipes included.
The Big Man's World
Cookies can actually have protein.
If you're snacking three hours before your workout, you should aim for 7 to 15 grams of protein, says DellaIacono. (If you're eating closer to your scheduled gym time, try to snack on something with less—protein takes longer to digest and can make you feel too full during your workout.)
Get the recipe: No-Bake White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
Yummy Healthy Easy
Cookies are a perfect energy (aka carb) source.
"If you're doing a one-hour workout, eat about 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates one to two hours before," says DellaIacono. Some of the best choices? Bananas, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes. "They also provide vitamins and minerals that contribute a portion of your daily micronutrient requirements." Grab a low-protein, low-fat cookie made with bananas and oatmeal to get a carb fix and boost energy during your workout.
Get the recipe: Healthy Banana Cookies
The Sugar Hit!
Salty-sweet cookies are a good source of sodium.
Swap out sipping on a sports drink and load up on some sodium pre-workout instead. "Sodium, which is the primary mineral lost in your sweat, can give you a leg up on hydration," says DellaIacono. It won't give you energy, but it will help you with fluid absorption and retention, especially if you tend to sweat a lot.
Try a salty-sweet cookie that has as many pre-workout benefits as it does flavors. (Or try these other 9 Salty Snacks Under 100 Calories.)
Get the recipe: Salty Pecan, Vanilla and Oat Cookies
Feel Great in 8
Pre-workout is time to forget about fiber.
Keeping fiber under 3 to 5 grams in a snack eaten about three hours earlier is a good place to start, says DellaIacono. Any more and you might feel uncomfortable during your workout.
"Both fiber and fat require more effort for your body to digest, which can lead to an upset stomach for most of us," says Trinh Le, registered dietitian at Under Armour's MyFitnessPal. "While whole-wheat bread may still be okay, avoid beans and cruciferous veggies (think: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), which can make you feel gassy."
So skip the veggies and reach for cookies instead—these three-ingredients ones take little prep and are super low-cost.
Get the recipe: 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
Cookies can be low in fat.
If your workout is lower intensity, you might be able to tolerate eating some fat. But if you're going hard (like a HIIT class or interval run), you want to limit the amount of fat you consume to as little as possible in the one to three hours before your workout, says DellaIacono. "It will take longer for you to digest fat, and having fat in your stomach during a high-intensity workout could give some GI distress."
Try these decadent-looking low-fat cookie sticks for a perfect grab-and-go treat. (Or try these 3 Tips for Lighter Chocolate Chip Cookies.)
Get the recipe: Low-Fat Choc Chip Cookie Sticks