5 Workout Scenarios Paired With an RD-Approved Fast-Casual Meal

Lori Nedescu, MS RD CSSD
by Lori Nedescu, MS RD CSSD
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5 Workout Scenarios Paired With an RD-Approved Fast-Casual Meal

In a perfect world, we would all be committed to making a homemade meal and sitting around the dining room table to enjoy our food without distraction. While that may be the ideal situation, it certainly isn’t the likely one. Athletes and fitness-focused people are on the go more than most to fit exercise into an already busy day. This running around leaves little room for that home-cooked meal and you calling for delivery, standing in line for takeout or sitting at a restaurant wondering what to order that won’t wreck your healthy outlook.

Instead of trying to minimize the damage done by eating out, use it to your advantage and order meals that can actually help fuel your fitness goals.

PRE-WORKOUT BREAKFAST AT STARBUCKS

What to Order: Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal + Flat White
RD Tip: When you need to grab a bite before a workout, carbs are the way to go. This hearty oatmeal contains a healthy dose of slow-acting, whole-grain carbohydrates to fuel you well beyond your workout. The blueberries also provide a dose of antioxidants to help reduce the body’s inflammation caused by physical stress. Adding a simple espresso beverage is a great way to boost your workout as caffeine has been shown to enhance performance.
Alternative: Tropical Smoothie Café Orange Ginger Glow Smoothie

POST-LUNCH RUN AT PANERA

What to Order:  Roasted Turkey Avocado BLT + Apple
RD Tip: After a lunch run, it’s common to be both hungry and rushed to get back to work. Make it easy on yourself and grab a simple, easy to eat and well-balanced sandwich that provides protein and carbohydrates to replenish your body along with healthy fats and fiber to make you feel full for the remaining work day.
Alternative: Chipotle Vegan Burrito Bowl With Guacamole

PRE-WORKOUT LUNCH AT SNAP KITCHEN

What to Order: Havana Beef Bowl + Chia Cashew Nut Milkshake
RD Tip: When you have a workout hours away, you want something that satisfies and energizes without making you feel stuffed, lethargic or bloated. Skip the bulky salads and large meals. Instead opt for a carbohydrate and protein-rich smaller dish with a snack to consume closer to your workout to provide that extra boost of fuel to use in training. The Havana Beef Bowl provides a whole-food based option that’s just enough to fill you up without weighing you down. Having a smoothie later in the afternoon provides a carbohydrate and calorie pre-workout boost.
Alternative: Noodle & Co. Japanese Pan Noodles

POST-WORKOUT DINNER AT SWEETGREEN

What to Order: Shroomami Bowl
RD Tip: You’ve finished your training, it’s late, and you’re ready for a meal. The goal is to replenish macronutrients and antioxidants without eating too much before getting to sleep.
Meat-heavy meals can be very difficult to digest, leaving you tossing and turning all night long. This bowl supplies plant-based protein, whole-grain carbohydrates plus nutrient and antioxidant-rich seeds, herbs and vegetables. The miso dressing provides a flavor sensation of umami which is very satisfying and savory.
Alternative: Zoës Kitchen Salmon Kabobs With Side Quinoa Salad

PRE-RACE DINNER AT PEI WEI ASIAN DINER

What to Order: Chow Mein
RD Tip: Typically this noodle dish loaded in carbohydrates and sodium would be a bit worrisome. However, for the athlete preparing to expend a large amount of calories sweating for hours and hours in a long endurance race or morning training session, it’s exactly the right meal. You might wake up a little puffy, but that’s only water weight meaning you have the extra carbs to burn and salt to lose in your sweat.
Alternative: Blaze Pizza Red Vine Pizza

Hopefully this provides a bit of insight when it comes to choosing the right meal for your fitness situation. These options should also let you breathe a sigh of relief; it is OK to not make everything from scratch all the time. There are plenty of menu options to pick from when you’re on the move without feeling guilty for losing sight of your health and performance goals.

About the Author

Lori Nedescu, MS RD CSSD
Lori Nedescu, MS RD CSSD

Lori, MS RD CSSD is an accomplished sports dietitian; she holds a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Certification as a Specialist in Sports Nutrition. As a current professional road cyclist and previous elite marathoner and ultra-runner, Lori knows firsthand that food can enhance or diminish performance gains. She understands the importance of balancing a quality whole food based diet with science-backed performance nutrition and strives to share this message with others. Learn more about her @HungryForResults.

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