Fitness Meal Plans for Your Active Lifestyle

Good fitness meal plans specifically address the unique nutritional needs of active people, like you. A good meal plan meets your daily caloric requirement and gives your body the nutrients it needs for growth, support, and repair of tissue. One of the keys to a healthy diet for active people is having good meal plans to give you energy before a workout, and help you recover after exercise.

Pre-Exercise Fitness Meal Plans

Before a workout you need energy for exercise. But you don’t want to fill yourself up too much either. Here are some sample pre-exercise fitness meal plans that may help give you energy and are easily digestible:

Meal Description/Tips Timing
Plain whole wheat bagel and banana; 8 ounces of water or more 75 grams of carbohydrates give you energy; easily digestible; fiber for digestive health 60-90 minutes before a moderate to long workout
High-carbohydrate energy bar with 8 ounces of water or more Look for 40-50 grams of easily digested carbohydrates for energy 60 minutes before a moderate to long workout
Balanced nutrition energy shake Choose one that has plenty of carbohydrates, moderate protein, and low fat content 30-60 minutes before a moderate to long workout; stretch that to 90 minutes before high-intensity exercise
One cup of pasta; 8 ounces of water or more 75 grams of carbohydrates gives you energy; stay away from heavy sauces and use olive oil instead 60-90 minutes before a moderate to long workout
Healthy cereal with skim milk Choose a low-sugar, healthy cereal that gives you about 50 grams of carbohydrate energy with your serving; 1 cup of soy milk will equal about 15 grams of carbohydrates; alternatively use skim milk 60-90 minutes before a moderate to long workout; stretch that to 90 minutes before high-intensity exercise

Post-Exercise Fitness Meal Plans

After a tough workout, good nutrition will help your body to recover. Meals high in complex carbohydrates will speed muscle recovery. Here’s a sampling of some high-carbohydrate fitness meals. When you add it all up, approximately 66 percent of your calories from these fitness meal plans come from carbohydrates, 17 percent come from protein, and 16 percent come from fat.


Breakfast (after an early-morning workout)
  • 4 slices whole-wheat toast
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup healthy (low-fat, low sugar) cereal
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup orange juice
Lunch (after a mid-morning workout)
  • 2 oz. lean beef patty
  • 1 whole-grain hamburger bun (with condiments)
  • 1 cup low-fat pasta salad
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup skim milk
Dinner (after a mid-afternoon or early evening workout)
  • 3 oz. broiled chicken breast skinless
  • 1 cup brown rice pilaf
  • 1 slice whole-wheat bread
  • 1 tsp. margarine
  • 1 1/2 cup green salad
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp. low-fat salad dressing
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 8 oz. low-fat frozen yogurt
Healthy Snacks (after a workout any time of day)
  • 1 large pretzel
  • 1 banana
  • 1 bagel
  • 1 high-carbohydrate energy bar