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What you should really be eating before and after a workout

Posted at 1:10 PM, Feb 18, 2016

Dietitian Suzanne Lewis shares tips on exactly what you can eat to maximize your workouts.

Tip #1: Activate Your Plate
• Create a balanced plate that gives you the
most nutritious advantage.
• On hard-training, very active days make your
• ½ whole grains (and other carbohydrate-rich foods)
• ¼ fruits and vegetables
• ¼ lean protein (poultry, lean meats, fish, tofu etc.)
• Include smaller amounts of fats (especially healthy
fats like plant oils, nuts, seeds)

Tip #2: Fuel with Fluids
• Choose beverages and water-rich foods that
hydrate and provide nutrients.
• During the day drink:
• Mostly water
• Low-fat milk (or fortified dairy substitutes)
• 100% fruit juices (smaller portions) or vegetable juices
• Include water-rich foods:
• Fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, chilis, stews etc.
• Before/during activity:
• Water (aim for about 16 to 24 oz. before activity, 8 oz. every
10 to 20 minutes for training greater than 60 minutes)
• Sport drinks (best used during moderate to high intensity
activity, 60 minutes or longer)

Tip #3: Use Snacks to Your Advantage
• Think of pre and during workout snacks as
an important part of your training plan.
• About 1 to 2 hours before activity:
• Choose a easy-to-digest carbohydrate-rich foods (low-fat,
low-fiber); include some protein
• Examples: fruit and low-fat string cheese, granola or cereal
bars, peanut butter and crackers, small bowl of cereal with
low-fat milk
• 30 – 60 minutes before activity (such as if you
haven’t eaten within past 3 to 4 hours):
• Choose easy to digest carb-rich choices such as sports
drinks/gels or liquid low-fat meal replacement
• During activity (greater than 60 - 120 minutes):
• Consume 30 – 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour

Tip #4: Recover Right
• Think of post workout recovery as the way to
restore yourself for your next activity.
• Within 30 to 60 minutes (for 2+ day training
sessions, or if you’ll be active again the next
• Have a carbohydrate-rich meal or snack with some
• Examples: low-fat chocolate milk, turkey sandwich,
cottage cheese and fruit, cheese and crackers
• Two hours later: have another meal/snack and
include carbs and protein

Tip #5: Train Your Brain
• Take care of mind and body to nourish and
sustain your active lifestyle.
• Get enough sleep and relaxation time
• Choose activities and foods you enjoy
• Focus on non-judgmental and positive thoughts
• Create an eating and activity plan (include grocery list
and weekly food shopping/prep)
• Track and celebrate your progress
For More Information: to find a Registered Dietitian
Nutritionist (RDN) in your area go to or

Note: This general information is not meant to substitute for your healthcare provider’s guidance. When making changes to your eating or exercise habits, always consult with your doctor or other healthcare provider to ensure your specific needs are met.

Building a Performance Plate: