What Should You Eat Before and After Working Out?

What Should You Eat Before and After Working Out?

What you eat matters when it comes to starting or ending a workout right. It’s like fueling a car.

It’s important to have the right foods at the right times. Have a snack or meal one to three hours before you work out. And drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.

Before working out, try a snack like:

  • Trail mix.
  • A bowl of high-fiber oatmeal with fruit and low-fat milk.
  • A fruit and yogurt smoothie. Bananas are a good pre-workout add-in.

Some after workout options include:

  • Eggs and whole wheat toast.
  • Greek yogurt with fruit.
  • Turkey, salmon or chicken with some vegetables. Try a wrap.

Just watch your portion size. If you plan to exercise within an hour after eating, have a very light meal or just a sports drink. Don’t try something you don’t usually eat.

If your workout lasts more than 60 minutes, think about having a healthy snack during your workout. That could be fruit, yogurt or an energy bar.

Afterward, have both carbohydrates and protein within two hours, if possible. That could be a recovery smoothie, chocolate milk or peanut butter sandwich.

And think about keeping a journal to track how you feel after eating different meals and snacks before and after working out.

Sources: What to Eat Before and After a Workout, leaving site icon  WebMD, 2023; Eating and exercise: 5 tips to maximize your workouts, leaving site icon  Mayo Clinic, 2023

Originally published 3/29/2021; Revised 2024