51 Healthy Recipes for Athletes (Pre/Post Workout Meals)

  Jul 10, 2019  |  #Recipe Roundup

If you’re looking for healthy snacks for athletes or some ideas for meals for athletes, this post is for you! I’ve compiled a complete list of breakfasts for athletes, healthy meals for athletes and snacks for athletes in this all-encompassing roundup. 

For all of my athletes out there, do you feel like you eat the same stuff all the time? Whether you practice a vegan athlete diet or a meat-heavy lifestyle, we all get in ruts.

It can be difficult to find delicious recipes that fall into each lifestyle, especially when we’re busy.

But, have no fear! I have written this post with you in mind. Here are 51 recipes that are healthy meals for athletes.

This roundup post is seriously a goldmine, with vegetarian or vegan athlete meal plan ideas, gluten free options, and easy to make meals that include simple ingredient lists.

We have ideas for breakfasts for athletes as well as healthy breakfasts for teenage athletes. 

51 Healthy Recipes for Athletes Roundup

I have also included plenty of healthy snacks for athletes on the go, healthy breakfast options, and pre and post workouts meals that are ideal for an athlete’s nutritional needs.

These meal ideas can even be perfect for the mom that needs a pick me up after a quick workout session!

Meals for Vegetarian Athletes

First on the list are some entrees that are perfect ideas for lunch and dinner for vegetarian athletes and even that can fit a vegan athlete diet.

No matter what athlete diet plan you follow, you’ll find tons of resources and ideas here. Most of these recipes can be made in under an hour with minimal cleanup and are great if you need some meal prep snacks and ideas for the rest of the week.

This Beetroot Salad from Delicious RD has created is super easy to make! Plus, it is packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, making it perfect for a vegetarian diet for athletes. Add more nuts, beans, lentils and/or grains for more protein. 

Beets are one of the top foods for endurance athletes because they can help with blood flow to the muscles. Endurance food is a necessity!

Another great option for vegetarian athletes is this Veggie Pasta Bake. It’s packed full of veggies and you can even customize it if you wanted to add meat. It’s cheesy, healthy, and total comfort food!

Pasta Bake in Casserole Dish, a vegetarian healthy meal for athletes

Want more carb and endurance power? This kale and sweet potato mac and cheese will fuel you pre run!

Healthy Entrees for Athletes (Fish and Seafood)

Turmeric Zucchini Salmon Patties are one of my favorite quick weeknight recipes. They are high in protein and ready in 20 minutes.

These patties are great for weeknights when you are running low on time but still want something healthy. You can also top your patty with some zoodles and add a bun if you would like it more sandwich style.

Salmon patties with buns and french fries

The Toasty Kitchen put a spin on traditional tuna salad with this refreshing Sweet Pea and Dill Tuna Salad that would make for an amazing lunch or a great healthy summer dinner.

It’s ready in 10 minutes and FULL of protein.

Healthy Entrees for Athletes (Meat)

Low Carb with Jennifer just made meal prepping easier with One Pan Chicken and Veggies. Perfect when planning the next 5 days of healthy lunches or feeding a crowd at dinner.

Looking for a gluten free burger option? My delicious Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers should meet all of your needs!

Not only are they full of protein and antioxidants, but a great replacement for the standard beef burger and the sweet potatoes offer some antioxidant power. 

Gluten free sweet potato turkey burgers with toppings

When you want something hands off for the cooler weather this fall, try this Pumpkin Chicken Crockpot Chili. It’s hearty, healthy, and made in a crock pot—so that means less work prepping and minimal cleanup!

As a mom, easy and convenient crockpot meals are a favorite and can’t be beat! Meal prep snacks and meal prep meals can be life savers. 

Healthy Snacks for Athletes 

Everyone needs a pick me up through the day, but it can hard to find healthy snacks without hidden ingredients. Be sure you try some of these amazing recipes, even your family will love them. Plus, your kids may not even realize they are healthy!!


If you are a muffin person, try some Oatmeal Raisin Protein Muffins from One Clever Chef. They are gluten free and naturally sweetened with dates.

What a perfect pairing with your morning coffee!

These gluten free Almond Flour Banana Muffins are perfect for on the go and your little ones, and one of my favorite meal prep snacks ever. 

Banana Muffins made with almond flour in a bowl with a kitchen towel on granite surface

If you’re looking for a grain free muffin recipe, strawberry chickpea muffins are a delicious way to up your protein intake. Just substitute a flax egg to meet a vegan athlete diet. 

Granola Bars and Protein Bars

Happy Kitchen’s Healthy Chewy Granola Bars are also a no bake recipe full of ingredients that can be adjusted to all your favorite seeds, grains, and fruits.

It’s not always easy to find vegan snacks with protein, but here are some Vegan Protein Bars that are budget-friendly and nut-free! The recipe uses sunflower butter but you can use any nut butter you choose. 

Food Meanderings’ Healthy Vegan Fruit and Oat Bars can be frozen and made ahead time. Not to mention these are dairy, nut, gluten, and refined sugar free!

Low Carb Yum’s homemade Coconut Macadamia Bars are healthy, easy to make and store, and use simple ingredients.

Energy Bites

Energy bites are great recipes for athletes because they are portable meal prep snacks and chock full of nutrients. They can usually be made very quickly and without any baking at all.

No-bake Chocolate Almond Butter Protein Balls by Amy Gorin Nutrition could almost be mistaken for dessert they are so delicious!

The Fit Cookie has created Chocolate Chip Protein Bites that are gluten, dairy, and nut free, and taste like dessert. 

Coffee Chocolate Chip Protein Bites for athletes

These Energy Blasts from Nutrition Nuptials are perfect when you need some extended energy. Rather than getting a boost all at once, they create a reserve of energy.

These are perfect for when you have over an hour until your workout. 

Running low on time? Nourish Nutrition has these amazing Healthy Energy Bites that only take 10 minutes to make! Just make a bunch at once to keep on hand for the week, or even to freeze and make for good pre workout food. 

Looking for something that you don’t have to bake? These Blueberry Almond Energy Snacks from The Seasoned Mom are exactly what you need. They are healthy, ready in 10 minutes, and uses only 5 ingredients!

Blueberry Almond Bites with honey and fresh blueberries alongside

Try these No Bake Peanut Butter Coconut Balls from Greedy Gourmet. These are great to make in batches to reduce your meal prep for the week. You could also add some dark chocolate in as well for an extra flavor (and antioxidants).

One of my favorites are these Healthy Trail Mix Protein Bites from The Endless Meal. Trail mix is perfect as an on the go snack and for kids, these are pretty much mess-free.

To make it even easier, there are only 2 steps of prep!

Healthy trail mix bites for athletes, with m'm's, raisins, and oats

Katalyst Health is throwing it back to childhood with these delicious PB & J Energy Bites. She uses a plant-based protein which makes this healthy choice vegan. They are also no bake and gluten free.

These Oatmeal Peanut Butter Balls from Veggie Inspired are a powerhouse for nutrition; filled with super foods that are satisfying for your body along with taste.

Looking for something different in the healthy snack department? Try these Potato Energy Bites from Sinful Nutrition. These are great if you are low on fuel in the afternoons after a long day.

After making a batch they can be stored for up to 2 weeks, ideal as meal prep snacks. 

Other Snack Ideas

Here is a perfect meal prep friendly snack, Almond Butter Stuffed Dates, from Choosing Chia. These dates will satisfy your hunger fast (thanks to all that healthy fat) and are refined sugar free!

These are also a great pre-run snack (perhaps take it easy on the almond butter).

Dates stuffed with almond butter, sea salt and dark chocolate

Looking for something crunchy and healthy? These easy Baked Plantain Chips from Wicked Spatula are Whole 30 super easy to make and gluten free!

Homemade plantain chips

Would you rather have a smoothie for a healthy snack? Great! Here is an Orange Smoothie from Marathons and Motivation that is full of protein and is inflammation fighting.

Healthy Breakfasts for Athletes

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and breakfasts for athletes are extra important. We certainly can’t undermine starting our day off on the right foot. 

Here are some healthy options that will leave you full, satisfied, and ready to take on the day!

Try these delicious Granola Cups with Beet Rose Cardamom Yogurt from Seasons Healing. Pack a few or pair with a hard boiled egg or extra yogurt for additional protein.

Get moving with this Shredded Sweet Potato Veggie Casserole from Bucket List Tummy. It’s filled with protein, carbohydrates and antioxidants, so the gang’s all here!

Your mouth will water over this Skillet Breakfast Scramble. This one skillet meal idea is gluten free and meal prep friendly.

Beef, eggs and veggies in a skillet

Another great savory to go option are these Breakfast Egg Muffins from Hungry Healthy Happy. 

Sweet Breakfast Options

Prefer something sweet to savory after a workout? These are some more ideas for meals for athletes. 

You have to try these Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes from Erica’s Recipes. Not only a great option as breakfasts for athletes, but kids will love them too.

Try this easy Chocolate Protein Oats with Banana and Cinnamon dish from Seasons Healing. This breakfast is all kinds of flavorful and full of recovery protein. 

Love oatmeal but feel stuck with the same old? Spice your morning up with Sweet Potato Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. It’s ready in only 30 minutes and is a crowd pleaser.

Spoonful of Flavor is kicking it up with Trail Mix Breakfast Bars. Perfect for on the go or if you have a busy morning planned. They are healthy, easy to make, and gluten free.

Healthy Trail Mix Bars for Athletes

Or, maybe you’re looking for a bread-less breakfast option or something that appeals to a vegan athlete diet?

Sweet Potato Toasts from Claudia Canu may be the perfect match. You can top your toasts with banana, nut butter, avocado, or (faux) cheese; you decide!

Healthy Pre-Workout Food for Athletes

Need some pre-workout power? You’ll be surprised at the deliciousness found in these healthy pre-workout recipes. What you choose may depend on the length and intensity of your workout, so we have options for everything!

Most of these are great as snacks for athletes on the go, and have minimal prep and cooking time.

Did you ever think gummy bears would make it on this list? Snacking in Sneakers has created these awesome Watermelon Protein Gummies, that you can make with only 4 ingredients!


Watermelon Pre-Run Gummies

Need something on your way out the door? Try my favorite Cherry Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal Cups. If you need some extra protein, grab a hard-boiled egg or some yogurt to pair with the muffins.

The Foodie Dietitian has cooked up some Almond Butter and Jelly Energy Bites that are great for a pre-workout choice. They are full of energy and may take you back to your childhood days!

Need a pre-workout vegan option? No Bake Peanut Butter Cherry Trail Mix Bites from Bucket List Tummy are no bake, gluten free and perfect for a healthy on the go option. 

Or, try Chocolate Hemp Seed Energy Bites as your next pre-workout snack from The Pretty Bee. These energy boosters are no bake, vegan, and nut free.

Chocolate Hemp Seed Energy Bites in a bowl

The Belly Rules the Mind’s Apricot Energy Bites are ONLY 3 ingredients, great healthy snacks for athletes ready quick!

These bites are ready in 10 minutes, vegan, paleo friendly, and gluten-free.

Sweet potatoes can be an athlete’s best friend and one of the best endurance foods. With that being said, try these Sweet Potato Coconut Ginger Energy Bites.

Closeup of sweet potato energy bites with coconut flakes

The ginger can help with workout soreness and inflammation. These energy bites are done in only 40 minutes and last up to a week in the fridge!

Healthy Post Workout Food for Athletes

So, you just finished a workout and are absolutely starving! It’s important to refuel with a combination of carbohydrates and protein.

Below are some great options whether you need healthy snacks for athletes or easy meal ideas. 


Smoothies can be among the best pre workout food and can also be ideal as a post workout snack because they don’t require a lot of prep and are easy to drink on the go.

Plus, post workout smoothies are filled with nutrients that you need to replenish but aren’t heavy enough to spoil your next meal.

Take a load off after your workout and enjoy this Chocolate Cherry Recovery Smoothie from Snacking in Sneakers. Super yummy and among the best smoothies for inflammation. 

After a long workout, try cooling down with this delicious Tropical Creamsicle Post Workout Smoothie from Bucket List Tummy.

This is among the best breakfast smoothies for athletes because it offers a full balance of carbs, protein, and electrolytes.  This smoothie can be dairy free as well. 

Orange Protein Smoothie, great for a post workout meal

If you love cherries here is another post workout smoothie you will love. The Chocolate and Tart Cherry Recovery Smoothie from Veg Girl RD is slightly different because sour cherries are used versus the traditional maraschino.

Looking for a vegan smoothie? The Post Workout Carrot Smoothie from Simple Scrumptious Cooking fits the bill.

If you prefer sweeter smoothies, you can add in additional fruit, agave/maple syrup, or coconut water.

Fruity Post Workout Smoothies

This Healthy Kitchen has come up with a delectable Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie. You can use fresh or frozen fruit, and while it sounds extra refreshing, this smoothie has boasts 8 grams protein.

This Banana Date Protein Shake from Whitney Bond is vegan and gluten free. Not to mention that this shake offers 50% of your daily goal in protein.

Perfect as a protein snack for athletes or those who struggle eating enough protein to support activity. 

Here’s a vegan Pineapple Smoothie from Veggie Inspired, and this smoothie is packed with electrolytes and perfect for recovery! Also nut and refined sugar-free!

Fit as a Mama Bear’s Key Lime Post Workout Protein Shake is high in protein and sounds super refreshing with the lime flavor.

This Dark Chocolate Raspberry Vegan Protein Shake from Occasionally Eggs is almost too pretty to eat, but a great choice for a vegan athlete diet. 

If you want to pair something “chewable” along with your smoothie, Natalie’s Health has created the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bar, which is perfect after a workout.

The bars are no bake and nutrient-packed and perfect as meal prep snacks.

Stack of chocolate banana oatmeal bars

Great for on-the-go and you can make them in batches for easy meal prep. Pair them with some yogurt or a hard boiled egg for maximum benefit. 

As you can see, there are endless options for healthy recipes for athletes, and some for every dietary preference. 

Do you have any favorite pre or post workout foods?

13 responses to “51 Healthy Recipes for Athletes (Pre/Post Workout Meals)

  1. WOW! This is such a great list! I’m bookmarking it for later because I definitely want to try a few of these – especially some of the snack recipes! They look amazing!

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