Make-Ahead Pre-Workout Snack: Protein Pops
What’s a great pre-workout snack? is a question I am asked frequently. While I love my 2-Ingredient Coconut Banana Cookies as a very easy, portable and tasty pre-workout option, this summer I came up with another snack that has quickly become an indispensable part of my pre-workout routine: fruit-sweetened, gluten-free, electrolyte-loaded, protein-rich, super awesome pre-workout pops. I have begun stockpiling these, because when I accidentally ran out of them—and was forced to be patient while the next batch froze—my stormy mood could definitely be classified as hangry (this pre-workout snack solution is that convenient, delicious, and satisfying). I may even eat these when I’m not planning to workout, just because they’re amazing… shhhh!
A note about the “pre-workout nutrition supplement” that is an important part of this recipe: I exclusively use pureWOD PRE, because it’s the only all-natural, paleo and vegan approved pre-workout supplement. That’s a hell of a claim (I’m personally very suspicious of supplements), so let’s break it down. First, the ingredients get me pretty excited, and I encourage you to learn more:
- Creatine increases your the efficiency of your muscles, especially for shorter high-intensity workouts
- Green tea extract boosts performance as a naturally-occurring source of caffeine (meaning the body accesses it more readily along with the included benefits of polyphenols and antioxidants)
- Beta-Alanine delays the onset of neuromuscular fatigue
- Branched chain amino acids act as fuel after glycogen stores are depleted so lean mass is protected, and increases rate of protein synthesis so your muscles recover faster
- Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate clears waste out of your tissues and transports oxygen and nutrients to them more rapidly
- L-Carnitine ensures that your body uses fat for fuel during a workout, not your lean mass
- Rhodiola Rosea regulates heart rate and improves your body’s response to workout-induced stress
- Dehydrated coconut water contains electrolytes that prevent the loss of essential vitamins and minerals via sweating, and keeps you hydrated without a water break
- Vitamin C accelerates muscle recovery
- Fruit powder flavors the mix naturally, without the use of gut-irritating, cancer-causing artificial flavorings
- Stevia sweetens the mix naturally without impacting blood sugar and disrupting insulin.
That’s all I’ll say regarding the pre-workout nutritional supplement, but if you’re curious about which protein powder to choose… I have only recently begun using protein powder, because real, nutrient-dense food forms the best foundation for athletes and other performance-driven individuals. However, during periods of intense, frequent exercise, protein may fill gaps in your nutrition plan.
Lastly, the coconut milk, cocoa, protein powder, banana and nutritional supplement make these pre-workout snacks work, but the toppings make them fun! This first go-round, I experimented with melted unsweetened chocolate, crushed freeze-dried raspberries and cashew butter. Very tasty, and easy to store the pre-workout snacks in a plastic container after decorating them and then back in the freezer for later without the chocolate, cashew butter, or fruit becoming rock-hard or unappetizingly icy. Experiment with whichever toppings you enjoy on smoothies and see what sticks (literally). 🙂
- Protein Pops
- 1 banana*
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 serving protein powder
- 1 serving pre-workout nutritional supplement
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- Unsweetened chocolate
- Freeze-dried fruit
- Cashew butter
- Purée the pops ingredients in a blender for a minute or so until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for a minimum of two hours.
- Extract the pops and garnish with the suggested toppings, invent your own combos, or enjoy as is.