What to Eat Before, During and After Exercise

Eating an apple after exercise - 6/11/2019

What should you eat before you exercise? After a fitness workout, what foods will replenish your body? Here are some suggestions from a registered, licensed dietitian for best results before, during and after you work out.

Before Exercise
About 60 minutes before you exercise, eat a meal or snack that contains carbohydrates and drink about 8 ounces of water. Be sure to choose low fiber, low fat foods to prevent an upset stomach. Examples include:

  • Peanut butter and honey on toast with milk
  • Plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and granola
  • Cottage cheese, grapes and crackers
  • Toast with jam

During Exercise

While you exercise, you should continue drinking water. To help you know how much to drink, weigh yourself before and after exercising. For every pound of weight you lose, drink 20 to 24 ounces of fluid. If you exercise for more than 60 minutes, you may need carbohydrates, fluids and electrolytes. Examples include:

  • Sports drinks that contain carbs and electrolytes
  • Protein bars (Read label carefully on these. Look for quality ingredients)
  • Sports gels (These are carbohydrate gels that provide energy for exercise and promote recovery, They are commonly used in endurance events such as running, cycling, and triathlons.)

After Exercise
Within an hour after working out, drink 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise. Eat a meal or snack that contains carbs and protein to replenish nutrients. Healthy examples include:


  • Smoothie made with Greek yogurt and frozen berries
  • Sports bar (with carbs and protein)
  • Sandwich with deli meat
  • Graham crackers with peanut butter and banana or an apple
  • Chocolate milk


  • Whole grain pita sandwich with turkey and veggies + pretzels + milk
  • Rice bowl with beans, cheese, salsa, avocado + whole grain tortilla chips or a soft tortilla 
  • Stir fry with lean meat, fresh veggies (peppers, broccoli, carrots, corn, cucumbers) + rice

Plan ahead for best results when it comes to nutrition and fitness. We hope these exercise meal plan options will aid you in feeling your best.