While many people might admit that they prefer to workout on an empty stomach, it’s really not the healthiest practice to continue. The body needs fuel to stay energized and push through an intense workout. Sure, the workout helps the body burn fat and stay healthy. However, starving the body won’t cause more fat to get burned. Truthfully, working out on an empty stomach isn’t beneficial for the body at all. Granted, you don’t need to eat an entire Thanksgiving dinner to stay healthy. Just try one of these small snacks and/or meals before you hit the gym!

1. Egg Whites
If you work out first thing in the morning, egg whites are an excellent source of protein that are low in calories and will strengthen the body for a solid workout. Keep in mind that the meal doesn’t need to be incredibly heavy. A great way to incorporate a small meal with egg whites involves scrambling them in a frying pan with seasonings like onion and garlic powder for flavor. Scramble the egg whites and eat them with a small piece of whole grain toast before your workout.

2. Bananas
Bananas are high in potassium which is just what the body needs going into a workout. If time is of the essence, it’s easy to put a banana in your gym bag and enjoy on the way to the gym. For an equally delicious option, try throwing the banana into the blender along with some water, frozen berries, and a little protein powder for a delicious fuel-powdered fruit smoothie!

3. Oats
Oats are hearty, stick to the bones, and fuel the body for a long period of time. For anyone who enjoys a hot breakfast, oatmeal is a great option before a workout. Oatmeal doesn’t weigh the body down. When it’s time to go down the grocery aisle and choose oatmeal, please look past the instant oatmeal filled with lots of sugar, preservatives and additives. Those packets completely defeat the purpose of a healthy meal. Choose options like regular oatmeal or steel cut oats. There are plenty of recipes for crockpot oatmeal that can be flavored with healthy options like dates, fresh fruit, maple syrup, or agave nectar. Crockpot oatmeal is easy because it only involves dumping all the ingredients in the crockpot and allowing it to slow-cook overnight. In the early morning before an intense workout, stop and enjoy a small bowl of healthy oats.

4. Chickpeas
While there are many people who prefer to get their workout done during the early morning hours, many people enjoy working out during the evening. It’s not uncommon to see the gym packed after hours. By this time, most people aren’t in the mood for egg whites or oatmeal. A great option for the evening is a cup of chickpeas. Chickpeas are an excellent form of protein. If raw chickpeas don’t sound enticing, consider trying hummus. Hummus is predominately made with chickpeas as the base. Tahini, garlic cloves, lemon juice, and a few other natural ingredients are blended in to create a delicious tasting dip. Eat this with carrots and celery before a workout and you’re good to go!

All of these meals are relatively inexpensive to buy and easy to make. With a little extra effort and planning, there’s no reason the body needs to starve during an intense workout. As the body continues to age, it’s just better to support healthy and high energy levels. Putting the right fuel in the body will allow this to happen!