As a Dietitian I have been asked many times for my recommendations for pre or post workout snacks or meals. Unfortunately many athletes don't realize what a huge role nutrition plays in performance. Depriving your body of the appropriate nourishment before a workout is depriving your body of the fuel it needs to complete a workout.
My recommendation for pre workout foods is to eat something that is a 2:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Some examples include a peanut butter sandwich, fruit and yogurt parfait or smoothie, tzatziki and crackers (my personal favorite), and finally a trail mix with dried fruit, cereal, and nuts. Different foods work for different athletes so individualized meal planning is important. It is recommended to eat one hour up to four hours prior to workout.
During endurance workouts greater than one hour remember to refuel 30-60 minutes prior to workout or during a workout with sports drink, chews, or gels. During long runs I like to use gels because they are easy to consume while running.
Post workout nutrition is key for starting the recovery process. The focus points of nutrition for recovery include fluids, fuel (carbs), and protein to repair muscles. My number one go to post workout is low fat chocolate milk. Seriously it is the best way to recover!! The milk provides electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and phosphorus and a perfect protein to carb ratio. Chocolate milk is perfect for anytime of day. For after work sweat sessions you can jump right into dinner. For morning exercise I would recommend to get something into your body prior to workout if you will be exercising greater than a half hour, see above. After workout, eggs with whole grain toast make a great breakfast, oatmeal with nuts, or a smoothie with yogurt or nut butter with fruit. I will post my protein balls recipe, which is also a great refueling snack.
It's very important to remember food preferences and tolerances pre, post, and during workouts must be taken into account for each individual. Consider finding a local Registered Dietitian for a detailed consult. Below is a link to search your area for a Certified Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition Dietitian. Let me know if you need any help searching or have any general questions!!