Even though I'm the type of person who can pretty much eat anything before a work out (I can seriously stuff my face with a burrito 30min before a class...true story...don't try this at home though!), as a nutritionist and yoga teacher, I wouldn't advise anyone to eat anything heavy before a class and would recommend to have your last snack at least one hour before (do what I say, not what I do!).
But what kind of snacks are the best before doing yoga? Well, it all depends what you already ate during the day, how hungry and/or how tired you feel, how intense the class will be, etc. For a small energy kick, I would just have a few dates and almonds or a banana with some peanut butter. If I actually need a "meal" or something more substential and have enough time ahead of me, I will take time to prepare some porridge (especially in winter!), some eggs with vegetables or a nice and filling smoothie.
I love smoothies, really, I think they are great if you make them right. You can get fibers, healthy fats, proteins, antioxidants, etc. which you wouldn't get in a simple juice. But people...please don't just chug smoothies all day on top of your meals thinking "yeah but it's healthy!"... smoothies can actually be quite rich. So unless you are working out or need extra calories, you should really consider them as a meal replacement (especially if you are adding a lot of sugary fruits and good fats).
Also, always try to balance your smoothie with some greens. Don't make it all fruits. Adding veggies, healthy fats and the right spices can really make a difference to your blood sugar (we are trying to avoid a big insulin spike here!). I won't lie to you, I've had a few failures, especially when going overboard with the greens: smoothies turning brown and tasting way too healthy (earthy/bitter) even for my taste! But the one I made today turned surprisingly delicious and gave me enough energy to teach a whole class without snacking just before (I had it around 2pm as a late lunch and taught at 4:30pm). Here is the recipe:
- 1-1.5 frozen banana (I always have chunks in a Tupperware waiting in my freezer!)
- 1-2 frozen spinach cube (you know, the pack from the frozen section...not the one with the cream though!)
- 1 small piece of fresh ginger (peel it!)
- 1 cup oatmilk (substitute for almond milk if you want a low kcal option or soy for more protein)
- 3 Tbs rolled oats
- 1 Tbs flaxseeds
- 1 Tbs chia seeds (omega 3 anyone?!)
- 2 Tbs collagen or protein powder of your choice
- 1/2 tsp spirulina
- 1 generous pinch of cinnamon (lowers blood sugar)
- Some water to thin it out
- Optional toppings: peanut butter, crushed hemp seeds and raw cacao nibs
I'm rarely exact with my dosages, so try it and adapt it to get the right texture/level of sweetness to your taste. Enjoy!