Health & Fitness, Fitness & diet

Recipes for athletes: 9 meal ideas for the whole day

For sportsmen and women, it is essential to adopt a balanced diet in relation to their high energy expenditure. With 9 examples of menus specially-designed for athletes and planned for the whole day, never run out of ideas for creating healthy and tasty meals.

Breakfast recipes for athletes

Smiling athletic woman blending fresh fruit and preparing healthy smoothie in the kitchen.

Breakfast is a very important meal: After a night’s sleep, it is the fuel that provides the body with enough energy for the day’s activities. It should provide between 25 and 30% of the daily nutritional intake.

How do you make breakfast for an athlete?

The ideal breakfast for an athlete includes: 

  • A hydrating drink, hot or cold.
  • At least one source of low or moderate-index carbohydrates: Wholemeal bread, oatmeal, cereal, etc.
  • A good-quality source of fats obtained, for example, from oleaginous plants: Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and so on.
  • A source of protein, which can come from cereals, eggs or ham, for example.
  • One piece of fresh fruit.

3 Breakfast ideas for athletes

These recipe ideas will help you create a healthy and balanced breakfast by varying the ingredients: 

  • Citrus fruit juice + oatmeal + almond milk + scrambled eggs + kiwi.
  • Cranberry juice + muesli + rice milk + cottage cheese + banana.
  • Pineapple and ginger juice + wholemeal bread + 1 handful of hazelnuts + fried egg + orange.

Our advice:

It is not recommended to exercise immediately after breakfast: Allow at least one hour between the first meal of the day and your morning workouts.

Lunch recipes for athletes

Powerful athletic man with great physique eating a healthy salad.

Lunch should be nutritious enough to help you avoid fatigue in the afternoon. However, it should not contain too much fat, which slows down digestion. If you work out in the afternoon, allow at least 2 hours of rest between the end of the meal and your training session. If you do sports in the evening, do not hesitate to add a mid-afternoon snack as part of your sports nutrition plan.

Athletes: The ideal lunch menu

For a satisfying midday meal adapted to your nutritional needs, include the following in your lunch

  • A lean source of protein: Fish, turkey or chicken breast without the skin.
  • Something starchy: Pasta, rice, quinoa, semolina.
  • Vegetables.
  • A dairy product and/or piece of fruit.

3 lunch menu ideas for athletes

Here are 3 menu examples for a balanced lunch:

  • Salad of seasonal raw vegetables + salmon with peppers + wholemeal rice + rhubarb compote.
  • Avocado salad with shrimps + chicken fillet with small vegetables and cumin sauce + semolina + strawberry soup with mint leaves.
  • Feta tomato salad + cod fillet + ratatouille + quinoa + muesli yoghurt.

Our advice:

Take your time for lunch and make sure you plan your day’s activities in advance in order to stay calm and ease digestion. 

Dinner recipes for athletes

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To encourage good sleep, the evening meal is ideally eaten a few hours before going to bed. Working out before eating: While you’re digesting a meal, your sports performance will not be at its best. After eating, read, take a walk or do some relaxing activities, making sure to turn off the computer screen at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

The ideal dinner menu for athletes

An athlete’s dinner should include:

  • A source of starchy food.
  • Vegetables.
  • A light dessert, ideally composed of fruit.

Back home after a sustained workout, don’t forget to choose protein-rich legumes to promote muscle recovery.

3 ideas for an evening meal when playing sports

These dinner recipe ideas will help you create light, balanced menus:

  • Lentil soup + mushroom risotto + chia seeds with coconut milk and mango.
  • Beetroot salad + broccoli pasta + roasted pineapple with cinnamon.
  • Tabbouleh + split pea soup + exotic fruit mousse.

Our advice: 

The evening meal should usually be much lighter than the midday meal.

Check out our Health & Fitness page for more advice.