No matter what kind of diet you’re on, or which fitness goals you’re working towards, one thing is certain: Eating the right combination of these macros can help you yield amazing results at the gym.
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Protein and carbohydrates work together to help regulate energy burn, as well as satiate our appetites, support muscle recovery and improve physical performance. On the other hand, if you’re training without fuelling your body with carbs and protein, muscle loss can occur (and nobody wants that!).
So what, exactly, should you eat? Choose complex carbohydrates that are unprocessed and void of added sugars. Think whole grains, sweet potatoes, veggies, and fruit. As for protein, lean sources of beef (tenderloin, filet), poultry (chicken or turkey breast), pork (loin) and dairy (eggs and yogurt) are best. Vegetarian options, like beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, are also good sources.
Now for some more specific examples. You probably already know that baked chicken and veggies, or lean beef with salad greens, are good choices. But we’ve got a few more inspired ideas for protein-and carb-rich meals to add to your repertoire.
1. Scrambled Eggs With Sweet Potato Hash
Eggs are truly the perfect protein when you consider their amino acid profile. Add sweet potatoes to your plate, and your early morning training will be even more worth it.
Recipe To Try: Sweet Potato Scramble
2. Tuna Sandwich on Multi-Grain Bread
Classic and delicious: The combination of lean protein and grains make the tuna sandwich a well-balanced post-workout snack for the serious lifter (and it’s easy on your wallet, too). Consider how spices like tarragon can make a classic sandwich feel like a gourmet treat.
Recipe To Try: Tarragon Tuna Salad
3. Yogurt Parfait
If you’re going to enjoy a parfait, be sure to layer protein-packed Greek yogurt not just with fruit, but also with carb-loaded seeds, cereals or nuts. Skip the syrup and chocolate garnishes. Keep it simple and healthy.
Recipe To Try: NYTimes.com’s Yogurt Berry Parfait With Steel-Cut Oats
4. Salmon And Couscous
For a meal that’s satisfying and rewarding after a hard workout, enjoy a salmon filet with couscous and veggies. This dish will keep your energy levels up and soothe your joints, thanks to the fish’s omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation.
Recipe To Try: Salmon Fillets Over Couscous
5. Mixed Beans
For vegetarian and vegan athletes, beans are often the number one source of protein and carbohydrates. And because it’s a vegetable and not meat-sourced, it’s void of any saturated fats — which high-protein diets often have too much of.
Recipe To Try: Mixed-Bean Salad
6. Tuskan Chicken Stew
Sometimes, you want an easy, one-pot meal. Before you leave the house for work, put your ingredients in the slow cooker and let it stew. White chicken meat can become tough in stews, but when you slow cook it, it becomes juicy and tender. You can also make this with pork or beef instead.
Recipe To Try: Tuscan Chicken Stew Recipe
7. Tofu Stir-Fry
When you’re sticking to a specific food plan, it’s easy to become bored with your options, and that’s when you’re vulnerable to “falling off the wagon.” So get inspired by high-protein and high-carb foods from other parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, Africa and elsewhere.
Recipe To Try: Stir-Fried Shiitake Mushrooms with Tofu and Bok Choy