Best Food Choices for Vibrant Health and Fitness

Key Points

  • Picking the best foods for fitness and health yields more efficient results than exercising alone.

  • Exercise without proper nutrition may work short term, but it is not a long-term solution for good health.

  • Use these five ways to pick the best foods for fitness and health to design a sustainable nutrition plan that works for life.

If you asked the average American what changes they'd make to improve their quality of life, 80 percent cite something in the category of nutrition and fitness. Most people want to achieve better levels of health and fitness, but aside from the casual stroll around the neighborhood and some non-professional weight lifting, few apply the secret weapon that takes workouts from adequate to amazing. What if there were five ways to pick the best foods for fitness and health?

If you seek optimal health, the real results start with what you put on your fork. While getting caught up in fad diets, fasting, and superfoods is tempting, consistency is key when building a sustainable nutrition plan that yields real results in and out of the gym. Find five ways to pick the best foods for fitness and health that fit into your unique tastes and preferences to create a long-term strategy for optimal wellness.

1. Focus on Results With Your Fork

Workout results start with your fork. The foods you choose provide the fuel and nutrients your body needs to perform exercise efficiently.

Giving your body the wrong fuel leads to low energy, inefficient function, and poor form that results in injuries and illness. You find yourself with little stamina to power through super sets, leaving you with less-than-ideal workout results.

What you eat also has a significant impact on your body composition. Factors such as lean muscle mass and body fat percentage are intimately tied to the ratios of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins you consume to fuel your workouts.

Any imbalance in this trifecta leads to imbalances in lean muscle mass-to-fat ratios, so finding that perfect combination of macronutrients is foundational to your fitness journey. Consistently make smart choices in the kitchen to achieve the results you want.

Eating a salad

2. Choose the Right Fuel for Your High-Performance Machine

Balancing your diet takes some time and effort as you get started, but it's well worth the energy you put into crafting menus that meet nutrient and caloric needs. Thomas Edison was ahead of his time when he shared the following wise words regarding health and nutrition:

"The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent diseases with nutrition."

Choosing the right foods involves more than selecting veggies over donuts; a strategic combination of the right foods at the right times is the best recipe for success.


Some say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. According to Harvard Health Letter, regularly consuming breakfast is associated with a lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Choosing the right breakfast foods is crucial to regulating blood sugar levels and sustaining all-day energy levels. Plain white bagels and donuts don't keep you full for very long, and the roller coaster you ride with simple carbohydrates doesn't set you up for success in the gym. It's tempting to load up that breakfast plate with fluffy pancakes dripping in syrup and crispy bacon, but this kind of breakfast makes you tired and sluggish, leading you to unhealthy snacking later in the day.

In comparison, eating fiber-rich and protein-packed foods fends off hunger pangs and provides you with the energy you need to blast through not only your workout but other daily activities too.

Consider incorporating the following tasty tidbits to start your day off right.


One of the easiest ways to nab a healthy breakfast is to eat oats. Although many shy away from them for their high carb content, they are complex carbohydrates, which means they take longer to digest and provide you with a steady supply of energy.

Eating oats for breakfast keeps you full until lunch, and their amazing pairings with fruit, nuts, and even peanut butter make for endless flavor combinations. Steer clear of pre-packaged oatmeal that contains added sugar and preservatives; a clean and simple presentation is best for this breakfast.


Ready for a hardcore shift in your diet? Put some grapefruit on your breakfast table. This low-carbohydrate food is tangy, delicious, and very low on calories.

Certain vitamins and minerals in grapefruit also speed up your metabolism, helping you burn more calories than you normally would. Eating grapefruit starts your day with a caloric deficit that gets you burning fat all day long.

Breakfast with grapefruit and granola

Avocado Toast

Avocados are the royalty of superfoods. A fantastic source of healthy fat and fiber, they help balance blood sugar levels while providing you with both taste and substance to fuel your morning.

Add slices of avocado to whole-grain toast for a heavenly combination of slow-release energy that checks off nutrient boxes while filling you up in tasty ways.


Hard-boiled, scrambled, poached, or fried — any way you prep them, eggs are a delicious and healthy way to start the day. Egg whites in particular are an excellent source of low-fat protein that builds muscle and promote the body's production of collagen.

Combine your morning egg preference with a delicious veggie such as spinach or broccoli for a power-packed presentation that sets the stage for full-day productivity.


Regardless of when you work out, maintaining a commitment to proper nutrition all day long is essential for improving your health and reaching your fitness goals. Incorporate these delicious, nutritious options into your weekly lunch menu for good midday eats.


Seafood is jam-packed with protein, which keeps you feeling full and satisfied after a noon meal. Seafood is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which play a significant role in protecting cardiovascular and heart health.

Whitefish, salmon, and tuna are also loaded with vitamins and minerals essential for maintaining bone strength, healthy skin, and a robust immune system.

Avocado toast with shrimp


Farro makes a great grain bowl base if you're tired of quinoa and rice. Rich in both protein and fiber, farro takes longer to digest than other complex carbohydrates, keeping you fuller longer.

Add farro to soups, salads, and even stuffed peppers to round out your dish and provide you with the energy needed to dominate your day.

Veggie Burgers

Before you object to the thought of pre-pressed, pre-packaged veggie goodness, know that you have options for designing delicious veggie burgers with fresh ingredients. Burgers with black bean bases, zucchini accompaniments, and several fresh herbs and spices delight both taste buds and body with an array of vitamins and minerals that nourish and build vital tissues.

Top that delicious patty with salsa and fresh guac and wrap it lovingly in a crisp lettuce leaf to make a scrumptious meal that won't leave you hanging.


Berries are little powerhouses of flavor and nutrition. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, they are relatively low in calories, giving you more bang for your buck when it comes to filling your plate.

Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries have anti-inflammatory properties as well, reducing levels of inflammation that can lead to diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.


Dinner is a time for many to gather around a table with loved ones, sharing good food and conversation. While it's tempting to overindulge and embrace decadence, make remaining steadfast in your quest for good health a priority to set a healthy example for others.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of complex carbohydrates, providing energy for physical activity and boosting workout performance.

Ideal for both high-fiber and nutrient density, pair these versatile tubers with your favorite protein for a well-rounded, macronutrient-balanced meal that really satisfies.

Sweet potato wedges


Leafy greens are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Spinach is a delightful green with a mild taste, easily morphed into a number of flavorful versions to meet nutrient needs and boost your fiber intake.

A potent source of iron, spinach helps deliver oxygen to muscles during exercise. Better yet, it has anti-inflammatory properties that improve cognitive function and ward off chronic conditions brought about by inflammation.


What nutritious menu would be complete without a reference to chicken somewhere in the lineup? An excellent source of lean protein (almost 40 grams in a six oz breast), chicken builds and repairs lean muscle tissue and protects fibers from damage during workouts.

The high protein content in chicken also supports immune function and reduces your risk of developing heart disease thanks to its low saturated fat content. Eat up!


Nutrient-rich almonds add crunch and creaminess to many dishes. Equally impressive as a salad topping or sauce ingredient, their mild flavor and nutrient-dense composition make them a perfect pairing for most other foods on your plate.

Just a few almonds per day can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating two to four servings of nuts weekly (24 almonds per serving) lowers your risk of heart disease by as much as 23 percent.

Bowl of almonds

3. Incorporate Healthy Snacks

Even if you're on the go much of the time, it's still possible to commit to healthy eating without derailing your progress. Chow down on these snacks for on-the-go eating that don't derail your progress.

  • Apples

  • Cucumbers and hummus

  • Almonds and string cheese

  • Multigrain crackers

  • Hard-boiled eggs

  • Berries

  • Greek yogurt with natural granola

4. Remember the Timing!

Timing is every bit as important for eating and snacking as what you put in your body for performance fuel. Most fitness experts agree that eating immediately before a workout is detrimental to your performance as the body must split its time between muscle exertion and the difficult work of digestion.

Heavy or greasy foods and meals tend to cause GI discomfort and cramping during exercise; avoid them if possible.

Pre-Workout Tips

If you must eat something before a workout, aim for a timeframe between one and four hours before, depending on how your body adjusts to meals and snacks. Pair carbohydrates and proteins together to provide consistent energy with beneficial building blocks for muscle growth and development.

Great pre-workout meals and snacks include peanut butter on whole-grain toast, Greek yogurt with berries, trail mix, and almond milk.

Post-Workout Rebuilding

During a strenuous workout, your body uses glycogen stores to provide energy, leaving you depleted after a serious sweat session. Proper ratios of carbs, proteins, and fats are essential for rebuilding and refueling to get you through the rest of your day.

For best results, eat a rebuild meal within 60 minutes after your training session.

Excellent nutritional building blocks after a hard cardio or weight-lifting session include post-workout recovery smoothies, a whole grain turkey wrap with veggies, and avocado toast with sliced hard-boiled eggs.

5. Employ Strategies for Nutrition Success

Regardless of your past nutrition habits, it's possible to turn the boat around and develop new relationships with food. Take these tips to heart when designing your next menu.

Cook at Home

Plan menus and shop for rich, nutrient-dense foods to get everyone in your home on board as you design fresh, healthy meals that the family enjoys. Plus, you avoid all those unhealthy fats, salts, and sugars that make up fast food and restaurant cuisine.

Small, Simple Changes First

Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither was your body. Begin now to make small, sustainable changes to your diet that are easy to maintain. Over time, you'll be truly impressed at how much your nutrition habits have changed.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Drinking water before meals is a known satiety hack; it triggers the body's response of feeling fuller. You eat less while simultaneously responding to your body's many cries for hydration throughout the day.

Lug that jug around wherever you go!

Drinking water

Incorporate the Rainbow for Vibrant Health and Fitness

Who needs to deprive themselves of taste and flavor when such an abundance of delicious, nutritious, and colorful foods exists? Reframe your relationship around food as something to provide premium fuel to your wondrous body rather than something to be feared and controlled.

You have the opportunity to build your body from weight to plate; fancy yourself a culinary genius as you experiment with tastes and flavors that not only tantalize your tongue but truly give your body what it needs for optimal health and wellness.

Stay up to date with the latest fitness tips on FitnessCorner, and bon appetit!

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