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Healthy Eating Habits for Healing

Healthy Eating Habits for HealingHealth Eating

By Jessica Burchett, PT, DPT, CMPT

Summer is almost here, and everyone is focused on improving their beach bodies! Many people hit the gym harder and start their yearly diets, hoping this will do the trick. Unfortunately, hitting the gym too quickly may cause injury, and many diets lack the nutrition needed for healing after an injury.  Instead, focus on the variety and quality of foods to assist both with healing and losing weight!

The chart below suggests a minimum amount of food for one day.

Food Group Number of servings What counts as 1 serving
Grains (using whole grain sources as much as possible) 5 1 slice bread; 1/2 cup cooked cereal; 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal; 1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta
Vegetables 2 1 cup raw or cooked vegetable or 100% vegetable juice; 2 cups raw leafy green vegetables
Fruits 2 1/2 cup canned fruit or 1/4 cup dried fruit
Dairy 3 1 cup milk or yogurt; 1 1/2 ounces natural cheese; 2 ounces processed cheese
Meats and Beans 5 1 ounce meat, fish, or poultry; 1/4 cup cooked beans; 1 egg; 1 tablespoon peanut butter; 1/2 ounce nuts or seeds; 1.5-2 ounces firm tofu
Oils, fats, and sugar Good source of calories, but these may be limited by prescribed diets Vegetable oils (canola, olive oil), sauces, salad dressings, sugar, syrup, butter, margarine, jelly, jam, candy


While eating healthy and cooking with so many ingredients can be intimidating, many healthy, fun and tasty recipes can aid in injury healing or dieting. Try some of these simple recipe ideas below!


Chia Seed Pudding

1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup light or full-fat coconut milk, depending on preference
1/2 tablespoon honey

Instructions: Mix everything in a container with a lid and put in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning you can add fruit (such as blueberries or banana) and walnuts.

Lunch or Dinner

Quinoa Tabbouleh

1 ¾ cup of water

1 cup uncooked quinoa

½ cup coarsely chopped seeded tomato

½ cup chopped fresh mint or parsley

¼ cup of raisins

¼ cup chopped cucumber

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced fresh onion

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions: Cook the quinoa with water (as shown on the back of the quinoa bag). Once ready, add in all the ingredients and let it sit covered for one hour. You can serve chilled or at room temperature.

Many websites provide healthy eating ideas for you when are healing after an injury or dieting. For other ideas and helpful hints, speak with your doctor or physical therapist. Remember to stay strong, because consistency is key!  To avoid an injury in the first place, schedule a Fitness Benchmarking session before you begin your new exercise routine.

Recipe references:

There are many articles that talk about nutrition in relation to muscle healing.

Click to access Nutrition_for_Healing.pdf