Pre & Post Workout Meal Ideas

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Having you been feeling weak, low energy, or unmotivated to complete your workouts?

Or maybe you have been working out consistently, but still haven’t seen any results. 

Both of these situations are frustrating because you know how important exercise is to your overall health, and you’re likely very committed to reaching your fitness goals. 

Either of these problems could be rooted in the deeper cause of poor nutrition pre and post working out. Together, we are going to figure out how to properly nourish your body to help you hit those fitness goals.


Why should you nourish your body before a workout….

If you’re looking to hit fitness goals, achieve results, improve body composition, and maintain a healthy metabolism – you need to fuel your workout. It’s best to consume energy when your body can use it.  Before your session you want to eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein to both provide energy and support strength building. Strong evidence supports that eating a protein-rich pre-workout snack increases the amount of calories you burn throughout the rest of the day. Carbohydrates provide energy your body can use quickly to boost your performance.

It is also important to be mindful of foods that impact your digestion, so that you don’t feel weighted down or bloated. Go for simple carbs rather than high-fiber to avoid gastrointestinal issues mid workout. High-fiber, complex carbohydrates should be eaten about 1 ½ hours before you get your body moving. Test what works for you! 

…AND after a workout?

Bad post workout habits limit your performance and weight loss success. Post workout nutrition is about replenishing your energy stores (carbohydrates) and supporting muscle repair (protein). It is important to fill up on both of these macronutrients, especially if you’re doing hard workouts. There is a trend to avoid carbohydrates, but they are really crucial macronutrients, especially in the context of exercise fuel and recovery. Get those carbs in 15-30 minutes after your workout. In regards to protein, it’s more about your overall protein intake every day when it comes to muscle gains. Definitely get a serving of protein in the 3-4 hours after your sweat session.  

A post-workout meal or snack should consist of whole foods, and if it’s not a full meal, watch how many calories are in that snack or you might find yourself overeating rather than fueling.

Here is your starter grocery list!

I would recommend purchasing several of the ingredients below to mix and match for new, and delicious pre and post workout meals:


  • Nut or seed butter
  • Whole grain toast (sub gluten free toast or bagels)
  • Quinoa
  • Protein powder
  • Bananas
  • Hemp seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Grilled chicken
  • Fresh fruit
  • Leafy greens
  • Smoked salmon
  • Rice
  • Beans

Great! You now know why to nourish your body pre and post workout and what food to prioritize on your grocery list. It’s time to put everything together!


Here are my TOP meal ideas:

  1. Pre-workout
  1. Nut or seed butter on whole grain toast
  2. Overnight quinoa pudding with protein powder
  3. Banana with a spoonful of nut butter and hemp seeds
  4. Sweet potato avocado toast with hard-boiled egg
  5. Grilled chicken and a piece of fruit
  1. Post-workout
  1. Avocado toast topped with seeds
  2. Recovery smoothie – Just Add Water®
  3. Simple burrito bowl with rice, beans, and your favorite veggies
  4. Sweet potato egg hash
  5. Smoked salmon on a gluten-free bagel

It can be hard enough to get to the gym or fitness studio, let alone figure out how to nourish your body before and after a workout. However, it is incredibly important if you want to hit those fitness goals to prioritize what you are putting in your body.

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This content is strictly the opinion of Chef Serena Poon and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Serena nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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