Fueling your body in preparation for yoga practice is an important step you should not overlook. As with any strenuous physical activity, it is important to maintain awareness of what and when you eat. Practicing on an empty stomach impacts blood sugar and energy levels. Alternatively, eating too soon before class can cause discomfort in even the simplest pose.

It is recommended to eat a small, light meal two hours to 30 minutes before practicing. Stick to foods you are familiar with that are easily digestible and light on the stomach. Avoid anything high in fiber and saturated fat. Carbohydrates increase energy, protein satisfies hunger and builds muscle and healthy fats provide excellent support to the heart.

The following is a list of just a few great options of what to eat before your practice.

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Fruit

Fruits are a satisfying snack that offer a natural increase of energy and are easy to eat on the go. Some popular choices are bananas, apples, raisins, pears, dried apricots and watermelon.

Yogurt

Natural plain yogurt satisfies hunger and offers additional support to your digestion. When paired with bananas or berries, yogurt makes the perfect snack.

Nuts

Plain, unsalted tree nuts such as almonds, cashews and walnuts have been linked to lower cholesterol and better heart health. The protein in this healthy snack combined with other minerals in nuts cause them to provide longer, constant energy levels.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is high in casein protein, which digests slowly. Because of this, muscles are supplied with a steady stream of amino acids. Cottage cheese is also a natural source of vitamin B-12.

Toast and Nut Butter

Sprouted grain or whole wheat toast with natural peanut or almond butter is a filling option rich in vitamins and protein.

Quinoa and Berries

Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich food choices for a healthy meal or snack pre-workout. The iron in Quinoa helps supply oxygen to your muscles to aid in their contraction. Paired with fresh berries, this power snack is an excellent choice.

Oatmeal

Slowly-digested, complex carbs from whole grains such as oats are an excellent and fulfilling meal option to eat at least an hour before yoga. Oatmeal is high in magnesium which supports energy levels and helps to prevent muscle cramps.

Smoothies

An excellent on-the-go snack or meal replacement is a smoothie using whole grains as a base. Add greens such as kale or spinach which are full of vitamins and minerals as well as rich in fiber. Protein powder is an excellent addition to your smoothie for muscle health.

Dried Fruit and Nut Bars

Keep fulfilling, vitamin rich dried fruit and nut bars in your bag for days you are rushed or forget to eat pre-workout.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated, drinking plenty of water throughout the day and during your workout. In addition to staying hydrated, fuel your body with a healthy food choice, but don’t overdo it and don’t eat too close to class.

What are YOUR go-to foods to help optimize your workout? Please share your favorite “Yoga Fuel” on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #yogafuel and tagging @chagrinyoga!