If you’re ready to start to enjoy the benefits of mindful walking in nature, don’t forget to fuel up. According to the American Council on Exercise, proper nutrition before cardio is one of the top two most important things anyone can do. These three delicious recipes don’t just boost your immune system — they’re meals for walking specifically tailored to provide the exact nutrients you need for a workout.

Meals For Walking: What Foods Are Good For Walking and Jogging?

It’s all about the protein-and-carbohydrate ratio. “The general guideline is to eat…a higher carbohydrate snack two hours before, and/or a smaller, easy-to-digest carbohydrate right up until you start,” explain the doctors at HSS. “Some recommendations for a pre-workout mini snack include things like half a banana, a small applesauce cup or a handful of crackers or pretzels. This snack should be low in fat and fiber, so that your body is able to digest it quickly. For a slightly larger snack eaten further in advance of your workout, you can add some hummus or peanut butter to your pretzels or crackers, or instead eat a cup of yogurt or half a turkey sandwich.”

The goal at its core? Easy-to-digest carbohydrates paired with protein. The following three meals for walking will get you started.

1. Peanut Butter and Fruit Smoothie

When it comes to meals for walking, smoothies are the perfect idea. They pair healthy fruit — a great source of easy-to-digest carbs plus antioxidants for your immune system — with protein, and it’s easy to drink before heading out for a jog or a run.

1 ripe banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
1 cup milk (you can use dairy or non-dairy milk like almond milk)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (optional, for extra creaminess)
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional, for sweetness)
Ice cubes (optional, for a colder smoothie)

Peel the banana and break it into chunks.

In a blender, add the banana chunks, peanut butter, frozen mixed berries, milk, Greek yogurt (if using), and honey or maple syrup (if using).

Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy. If the smoothie is too thick, you can add more milk to reach your desired consistency.

Taste the smoothie and adjust sweetness if needed by adding more honey or maple syrup.

If you want a colder smoothie, you can add a few ice cubes and blend again until they’re crushed and incorporated.

Once everything is well blended and smooth, pour the smoothie into glasses and enjoy immediately!


2. Easy Homemade Hummus

Forget store-bought hummus. You’re paying a premium for a healthy snack that’s easy to make at home. Plus, homemade hummus is tastier and healthier, since its nutritional qualities haven’t degraded from all the processing and sitting on a grocery store’s shelves.

Hummus is one of the best meals for walking because it’s rich in protein and also has healthy carbohydrates. As the HSS doctors recommend, take it up a notch and pair it with pretzels, a slice of whole-grain bread, etc.

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt, to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons water
Optional garnishes: chopped fresh parsley, paprika, toasted pine nuts, or additional olive oil

In a food processor, combine the drained and rinsed chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, minced garlic, olive oil, ground cumin, and a pinch of salt.

Process the mixture until smooth. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl occasionally to ensure everything is well mixed.

While the food processor is running, gradually add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until the hummus reaches your desired consistency. Adding water helps achieve a creamy texture.

Taste the hummus and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add more salt or lemon juice to taste.

Once the hummus is smooth and creamy, transfer it to a serving bowl. You can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top and sprinkle with optional garnishes like chopped fresh parsley, paprika, or toasted pine nuts.

Serve the hummus with pita bread, pita chips, fresh vegetables, or crackers. It can also be used as a spread for sandwiches or wraps.

Store any leftover hummus in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.


3. Gourmet Turkey Sandwich

In just a few minutes, you can whip up a gourmet sandwich not unlike those you’d find at popular delis in Brooklyn. It’s one of the best meals for walking if you want to pack a snack before hitting the trails, as it’s easy to pack and transports well. This elevated recipe rethinks the simple sandwich, with key ingredients like red onions giving it crunch, texture, and zing.

Sliced turkey breast (enough for desired sandwich filling)
Sliced bread (your choice of type, such as whole wheat or multigrain)
Lettuce leaves
Tomato slices
Red onion slices (optional)
Cheese slices (such as Swiss, cheddar, or provolone)
Mayonnaise or mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by toasting your bread if desired. This step is optional but can add extra flavor and texture to your sandwich.

Lay out the slices of bread on a clean surface. If you’re using condiments like mayonnaise or mustard, spread them onto one or both slices of bread.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on one slice of bread. This will create a bed for the rest of the sandwich ingredients and help keep the bread from getting soggy.

Place the sliced turkey breast on top of the lettuce. You can layer it evenly to cover the bread surface or fold the slices for a thicker filling.

Add tomato slices on top of the turkey. If you like, you can sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the tomato slices to enhance their flavor.

If using red onion slices, add them on top of the tomato.

Place cheese slices on top of the onion slices, if desired. This step is optional but adds extra creaminess and flavor to the sandwich.

Top the sandwich with the remaining slice of bread, pressing down gently to help everything stick together. Serve your turkey deli meat sandwich immediately, or wrap it in parchment paper or plastic wrap for later enjoyment.