What to Eat Before and After Exercise

Jessie Varela, RDN, LDN | Registered Dietitian
03/15/21  3:57 PM PST
What to Eat Before and After Exercise

We all know nutrition plays an important role in the body. But, what about when we begin implementing a new exercise or workout routine? What kinds of foods should we focus on in and around exercise? Here are some practical guidelines on what to eat before and after exercise:

Pre-Exercise Fuel:

  • Avoid foods that could potentially lead to GI discomfort. For example: fried foods, foods high in fat, spicy foods and foods high in fiber.
  • Consume a balanced meal or snack that contains carbohydrates, moderate amount in protein and lower amounts of fat and fiber.
  • Allow yourself time to digest meal or snack.
  • Pre-work snack/meal ideas:
    • Bowl of oatmeal topped with berries and nut butter
    • Smoothie with choice of fruit
    • Toast with sliced banana, nut butter and honey
    • Granola/cereal with milk
    • Trail mix with dried fruit

Post-Exercise Fuel:

  • After workouts there are three primary goals: refuel, rehydrate, and repair & build muscle.
  • Studies suggest consuming a combination of carbohydrates and protein within 30min post workout to help increase glycogen stores, rebuild and repair muscles.
  • Research also suggests consuming between 10-25gms of protein post workout to help rebuild and repair muscles.
  • Post-workout snack/meal ideas:
    • Protein shake
    • Veggie Omelet with hash browns
    • Turkey on a whole-grain wrap with veggies
    • Chicken/turkey/fish with brown rice and veggies
    • Tuna on multigrain crackers
    • Greek yogurt with granola, topped with berries
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