These guidelines are great for the average gym goer or weekend warrior! More specific guidelines are in place for athletes or more strenuous activities, and will vary from below.
Pre-Workout: Aim to have a meal 1-3 hours before your workout. This timing can vary depending on how much food you can tolerate before working out. A good guideline is to have some protein and carbs for your pre-workout meal or snack. Avoid complex carbohydrates that contain a lot of fiber, and opt for simple carbohydrates such as banana, apples, cream of rice, instant plain oatmeal. These will supply your body quick energy. Include a source of protein with your carbohydrates such as peanut butter and banana, instant rice or oats with a scoop of protein powder, or a handful of nuts with dried fruit. If you workout first thing in the morning, you don’t have to eat a big meal beforehand. If your workout is less than an hour long, a snack or meal is not needed. However, morning workouts longer than 2 hours will need some fuel beforehand to prevent muscle loss.
Post-Workout: Your body is at its prime to absorb nutrients, so it is important to refuel your body with protein and carbs. Try to not go more than 2-3 hours post workout without eating something. Carbs help replenish your glycogen tank, while protein helps build and repair muscle tissue. A post-workout shake with protein powder, fruit, and non-dairy milk is a great choice. One of your main meals on you meal plan will also suffice as a great post-workout meal.