What should you Eat on Rest Days? – A Guide for all Major Fitness Goals

There are no hard or fast rules on what you should eat on rest days. But a few things common in diet of all fitness goals include eating healthy, not overeating, and eating foods that are helpful in recovery.

Though our bodies react differently to same diet, the basic tenets remain the same. And following them will help you reach your fitness goals.

If you’re unclear about what you should and shouldn’t eat on your rest days, don’t worry–we’ve got you covered!

What to Eat on Rest Days to Lose Weight?

According to Dr. Eric Berg in a short video below, exercise only contributes to 15% of weight loss, the rest all depends on your diet, sleep, rest, and recovery.

7 Rest Day Food Ideas for people in Weight Loss Programs:

1. Vegetables

Vegetables are a low-calorie, nutrient-rich food that is perfect for weight loss.

They are high in fiber and water, which helps to fill you up and suppress your appetite.

Some good vegetable choices include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, spinach, asparagus, and cucumbers.

2. Lean Proteins

Protein is essential for repairing muscles and reshaping them. Lean protein sources like chicken, fish, turkey, tofu, and legumes are the best choices for weight loss.

Eat them in low proportions on rest days to gain a full advantage of recovery and nourishment.

3. Healthy Fats

Fat is not the enemy! Healthy fats in avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds are important for overall health and metabolism.

Including healthy fats in your diet can help you lose weight and recover and maintain energy levels on rest days.

4. Whole Grains

Whole grains are high in fiber and nutrients, and they digest slowly so they keep you feeling full for longer. Cereals, quinoa, oats, and brown rice are all great whole grain options that can help with controlling your calories intake and as a result help in weight loss.

5. Low-Calorie Beverages

Sugary drinks are a must avoid both on workout days and rest days. Cutting out sugary drinks is a great way to reduce calories and lose weight.

Choose water, unsweetened tea, powdered tea like matcha or coffee instead of soda or juice to help you in weight loss on rest days.

6. Healthy Snacks

Eating healthy snacks between meals can help keep you full and prevent cravings later in the day on rest days.

Choose snacks like fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, yogurt, or whole grain crackers instead of junk foods that can ruin your progress.

7. Herbal tea or water

Water and herbal tea are two great options for recovering and managing calories on rest days.

Water is essential for hydration and helps flush toxins from the body while herbal tea is a good source of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that can damage cells.

Both water and herbal tea are calorie-free, making them perfect choices for people who are trying to maintain a healthy weight.

What to Eat on Rest Days to Build Muscle?

Listed below are the 8 different types of food ideas on rest days for people in muscles building programs:

1. Lean meats – chicken, turkey, fish

Lean meats are a great source of protein for building muscles.

Chicken, turkey, and fish are all good choices for lean meats. They are low in fat and calories, and ideal to consume on rest days to help you recover well and nourish the body to be ready for next day’s workout.

2. Eggs

The main benefit of eating eggs on rest days is that they provide a high-quality source of protein.

Protein is essential for muscle growth and recovery, so eating eggs on your rest days can help you to achieve muscle building goal.

Eggs are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for overall health.

3. Whole grains

Whole grains are a good source of carbohydrates, which your body needs to repair muscle tissue. They also contain fiber and other nutrients that can help boost your energy levels and improve your overall health.

So next time you’re taking a break from the gym, make sure to refuel with some healthy whole grains.

4. Vegetables

One of the most important aspects of any fitness routine is recovery. When you’re resting, your muscles have a chance to rebuild and grow stronger.

Eating vegetables can help with that process. Vegetables are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals essential for muscle recovery.

They also contain fiber, which helps keep your digestive system functioning properly. Consuming vegetables on your rest days will help you recover faster and more effectively.

5. Fruits

If you’re looking for an easy way to boost your recovery and build muscle, eating fruit on your rest days is a great option.

When you’re resting, your body is naturally repairing the damaged muscles. Consuming fruit can help speed up this process, as well as provide some essential nutrients that can help you grow stronger.

6. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which makes them the perfect food to eat on your days off. When you’re trying to build muscle, it’s important to give your body the time it needs to recover.

Eating nuts and seeds on your rest days will help your muscles rebuild and grow stronger. Plus, nuts and seeds are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

They’ll help keep your body healthy while you’re working hard to reach your fitness goals.

7. Healthy fats – olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, etc.

When you’re looking to build muscle, eat healthy fats. On rest days, have olive oil, avocado, or coconut oil.

They all have anti-inflammatory properties, which will help your muscles recover and grow. Plus, they contain essential fatty acids that your body needs for energy and tissue repair.

8. Low-fat dairy products like yogurt or cottage cheese

Adding low-fat dairy products into your diet on rest days can help in the recovery process and build muscle.

Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, and dairy products are a good source of protein.

Yogurt is a great option because it is high in protein and calcium, and it also contains probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health.

Cottage cheese is also a good choice because it is high in protein and has a moderate amount of carbs.

Some other Important Issues of Eating on Rest days:

1. Should I eat the same on rest days?

If the goal is to bulk up and build muscle then surely you can follow the diet of workout days on your rest days, but if the goal is to lose weight then you have to cut down on calories on rest days.

Because physical activity on rest days is lesser, and eating the same diet can ruin your weight loss progress by disturbing the calorie deficit.

2. Can I eat anything on rest days?

No you can’t eat just anything on rest days. On your rest days, try to avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar.

Instead, opt for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. This will help you stay on track and reach your fitness goals.

Eating healthy is important for fitness, and you can’t give up on it even on rest days.


Rest days are important for both your fitness and nutrition. This article provides a guide for what you should eat on your rest days, based on your fitness goals.

If you are working out to lose weight, on rest days eat:

  1. Vegetables
  2. Lean proteins
  3. Healthy fats
  4. Whole grains
  5. Low calorie beverages, and
  6. Healthy snacks
  7. Herbal tea or water

But if you are working out to build muscles, on rest days eat:

  1. Lean meats – chicken, turkey, fish
  2. Eggs
  3. Whole grains
  4. Vegetables
  5. Fruits
  6. Nuts and seeds
  7. Healthy fats – olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, etc.
  8. Low-fat dairy products like yogurt or cottage cheese

We wish you best of luck in achieving your fitness goals. To help spread the word, please do share this article on your social media accounts.