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51 Healthy Athlete Meals (Ultimate Guide to Pre/Post Workout Meals)

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

For all of my athletes out there, do you feel like you struggle with your eating?

It can be difficult to find healthy recipes for athletes that fall into each lifestyle, especially when we’re busy. I do recommend healthy meal delivery for athletes for super busy times, but it’s also helpful to have some staple recipes to make on your own.

Overhead bowls of egg noodle stir fry with side of soy sauce

I have vetted 51 recipes of healthy meals for athletes out to be some of the best recipes for athletes in training, in terms of time, convenience and nutrients.

This roundup post is seriously a goldmine. If you specifically want some ideas for lunches for athletes, I’ve got that too.

We’ve got vegetarian and vegan athlete meal plan ideas, gluten-free options, and easy to make meals that include simple ingredient lists, like things you can find on this athletes grocery list.

In terms of necessary equipment, if you don’t yet have an instant pot, get yourself one! It’s a huge helper for healthy meal prep for athletes and making life easier.

There are ideas for breakfasts for athletes as well as healthy breakfasts for teenage athletes. Athlete nutrition recipes don’t have to be so hard!

Healthy Meals for Athletes

If you’re looking for meal prep ideas for athletes, you’ve come to the right spot. Many of these meal prep recipes for athletes can be made ahead of time!

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 mother runner and running after pregnancy, and quick pick-me-up’s after a workout session! I really want all of my clients to understand how simple meal prep for athletes can transform their diet and diet quality.

Vegetarian Recipes for Athletes

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

Most of these athlete meals 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 packed full of nutrients and antioxidants. Beets are one of the top foods for endurance athletes because they can help with blood flow to the muscles. Add more nuts, beans, lentils and/or grains for more protein.
  • Another great option for vegetarian athletes is this Veggie Pasta Bake, a great endurance meal. It’s packed full of veggies and you can even customize it if you wanted to add meat.
  • This kale and sweet potato mac and cheese will fuel you pre run, and it’s also one of the best healthy dinner ideas for teenage athletes.
Pasta Bake in Casserole Dish, a vegetarian healthy meal for athletes

Seafood Recipes for Athletes

Looking for fish and seafood healthy entrees for athletes? Seafood provides essential anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, which can help with recovery (Source).

Salmon patties with buns and french fries

Healthy Dinner Ideas For Athletes

I know dinner is what we typically struggle with the most since we either get home starving from a workout, or get home from picking the kids up. Things are hectic!

These healthy dinner ideas for athletes will help.

  • This One Pan Chicken and Veggies is 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.
  • 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!
Gluten free sweet potato turkey burgers with toppings

Healthy Athlete Snacks

Everyone needs a pick-me-up through the day, but it can hard to find healthy snacks for athletes that are nourishing, energizing, and even 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!


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’s diet.
  • These pumpkin zucchini muffins are naturally sweet and topped with peanut butter offer an easy pre or post workout snack, also high in immune-boosting Vitamins A and C.
  • Don’t look beyond baby muffins or toddler muffins either – lots of hidden veggies, goodness and nutrition in there!

Granola Bars and Protein Bars

It’s not always easy to find vegan snacks for athletes with protein, but here are some Nut free Protein Bars that are budget-friendly and vegan.

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.

Coffee Chocolate Chip Protein Bites for athletes
  • Running low on time? Nourish Nutrition has these amazing Healthy Energy Bites that only take 10 minutes to make!
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Homemade Trail mix is perfect as an on-the-go snack and for kids, these are pretty much mess-free.
  • Katalyst Health is throwing it back to childhood with these delicious PB & J Energy Bites, which are plant based, no bake and gluten free.
  • These Oatmeal Peanut Butter Balls from Veggie Inspired are a powerhouse for nutrition.
Healthy trail mix bites for athletes, with m'm's, raisins, and oats

Other Snack Ideas and Athlete Nutrition Recipes

  • Almond Butter Stuffed 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).
  • These easy Baked Plantain Chips from Wicked Spatula are Whole 30 super easy to make and gluten free!
Dates stuffed with almond butter, sea salt and dark chocolate

Healthy Breakfasts and Lunches

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 and athlete meal prep recipes should often revolve around breakfast to fuel morning workouts.

These healthy options will leave you full, satisfied, and ready to take on the day. If you’re unsure about what to eat before running in the morning, these options are a great start.

Many of these options also work great as healthy lunches for teenage athletes as well, to take and bring to school or eat when they get home.

Sweet Breakfast Options

Prefer something sweet to savory after a workout?

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.

Chocolate Hemp Seed Energy Bites in a bowl

Healthy Post Workout Food for Athletes

So, you just finished a workout and are absolutely starving! This is where athlete snacks come into play.

It’s important to refuel with a combination of carbohydrates and protein, and greek yogurt smoothies are a great way to do that.

Another easy option is this turkey taco quinoa skillet.

ground turkey quinoa casserole cooked in blue baking dish

Post Workout Smoothies

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, they are filled with nutrients that you need to replenish but aren’t heavy enough to spoil your next meal. We love smoothies as healthy meals for athletes.

Orange Protein Smoothie, great for a post workout meal
Stack of chocolate banana oatmeal bars

As you can see, there are endless options for healthy recipes for athletes, and some for every dietary preference. I hope you found this post helpful!

Do you have any favorite pre or post workout foods?

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  1. thank you so much your blog is very helpful nice posts please share sum new idea and cooking easy tips for dal tadka Making daily cooking quick, easy & effortless, while making sure the food is super fresh & Healthy. With Kwik Foods.

  2. 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!