It hits you out of nowhere. En route to yoga and all of a sudden, you’re starving! Ah, the conundrum. You know it would be better to eat something before class, but you also know eating the wrong thing may ruin your practice. After all, it’s pretty hard to keep your drishti, or focus, when you’re worried about keeping food down.
Thankfully, there are a few easy items that you can munch on before class to fuel your practice without sacrificing your flow. Typically before a yoga class: the simpler the food, the better.
Sticking to something with one or two ingredients is a good rule to follow. But there is some personal discretion to be taken with pre-class eating. For example, some yogis vomit at the thought of a green juice before class. Others can chug their kale-lemon-ginger cleanser and proceed to twist away with no problem.
Here are five of our favorite pre-yoga snacks to help you flow without worry.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts will fuel you without filling you up. They are portable and small, which means you can pop a few and not worry about feeling bloated. They are also packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to keep you feeling great. Keep a handful of walnuts in a small container in your yoga bag in case of a snack emergency.
Some people can get their sunrise vinyasa on without any food, but others need a little substance beforehand. This is a great option for early morning classes, or if you’re fueling up for an all-day yoga festival. A scoop of rolled oats mixed with hot water is a light meal that provides enough density to fill you up—thanks to its high-fiber content. On a summer morning, you can also try some cold, soaked, overnight oats for a refreshing breakfast. Simple oat flour muffins and basic oat granola can provide the same feeling of fullness without weighing you down.
Another early morning winner, bananas are easy, portable, and potassium packed! If it’s right before class, even half of a banana might be sufficient for some people to get energized without feeling full. Bananas are great for digestion and a natural mood enhancer, so they pair perfectly with yoga.
This snacking favorite is small, easy, and portable. Since it’s quite concentrated, it won’t take much mango to boost your energy levels. A few slices should do the trick. Another bonus is the fruit’s high content of vitamin A, which helps regulate the metabolism. Dried fruits are higher in sugar than fresh fruit, so limit your intake to one serving.
Almond, walnut, peanut, cashew—take your pick. Any of these will make for a smooth and creamy nut butter that will kick you into high gear before class. You can grab a spoonful as you’re running out the door, or keep a squeeze packet in your bag just in case. Energy-dense and nutrient-packed, the high-fat content in nut butter will keep you satiated throughout class and beyond. Just make sure to choose a natural brand to steer clear of preservatives.
Bottom line: Listen to your body and let that be your guide.