Advice and nutrition for sports injury recovery


Nutrition For Sports Injury Recovery | Blue Dinosaur


Sports are exhilarating, challenging, and sometimes risky endeavours. Injuries are an unfortunate reality for athletes, even with a well-rounded diet. However, proper nutrition for sports injury recovery can significantly enhance healing and pave the way for a swift return to the field. 


Boosting Recovery with Nutrition

Anyone with proper nutrition and athlete performance can be the best version of themselves. A well-crafted diet can expedite healing, providing the body with the necessary nutrients to repair damaged tissues, rebuild muscle, and regain strength. It's like giving your body the right tools to repair and rebuild, which can result in a faster recovery and a sooner return to the sport you love.


Best to consult a professional

Even if you're chowing down on the healthiest Aussie food, sometimes injuries in the world of sports are as inevitable as a koala sleeping in a eucalyptus tree. When you've been doing all the sports health & nutrition practices and still find yourself nursing a sports injury that won't quit, it's high time to call an orthopaedic doctor for sports nutrition consulting.

So, don't hesitate to schedule a consultation if that nagging pain or persistent discomfort is sticking around. Your body deserves the best care to ensure a speedy and successful recovery, whether down under or anywhere else in the world.

Furthermore, Let's explore why healthy food is crucial in sports injury recovery and how it can substantially impact an athlete's journey back to their sport.


Nutrition Goals for Sports Injury Recovery

Nutrition goals for sports injury recovery are like a roadmap for returning to the game. They aim to hasten the return to sports post-injury or surgery, ensuring long-term nutritional well-being. 

These goals also focus on improving physical condition, supporting muscle protein synthesis, preserving muscle mass, maintaining energy balance, and preventing unwanted body fat accumulation. 

Whether speeding up recovery time or keeping endurance athletes in peak form during their downtime, these nutrition goals are the building blocks for a successful comeback. 

  • Hasten Return to Sports:

    Post-injury nutrition aims to accelerate the return to sports after an injury or surgery. Providing the body with the proper nutrients helps in a swifter rehabilitation process.
  • Long-term Nutritional Status:

    Post-injury nutrition isn't just about recovery; it's about sustaining good nutrition in the long run, supporting your overall health and wellness.
  • Improving Physical Condition:

    Nutrition aids in improving your physical condition, ensuring that you regain strength, endurance, and mobility effectively.
  • Supporting Muscle Protein Synthesis:

    Key nutrients in your diet facilitate muscle protein synthesis, essential for rebuilding and strengthening muscles post-injury.
  • Preserving Muscle Mass:

    Preventing muscle loss during recovery is a priority. Proper nutrition helps maintain your muscle mass, preventing undue atrophy during inactivity.
  • Maintaining Energy Balance:

    Balancing your energy needs during recovery is vital to ensure you have the energy required for healing and everyday activities.
  • Preventing Body Fat Accumulation:

    The proper diet can help maintain a healthy body composition, preventing excess fat accumulation during recovery.


Why Nutrition is a Game-changer in Sports Injury Recovery

When you're on the mend from a sports injury, what you eat becomes the foundation of your comeback. Your body works overtime to heal itself and needs the right nutrients as the building blocks.

Plus, injuries can lead to muscle loss in as little as two weeks of inactivity. With the right nutrition plan, it can assist in a loss of muscle mass and recovery. 

Proper nutrition can be your ally in managing these challenges associated with your body in the recovery phase.

Fueling the Healing Process

  • Increased Caloric Needs:

    During the healing process, your body requires more energy. Trauma or surgery may increase your caloric needs by up to 20 per cent. Proper nutrition ensures your body has the fuel it needs for recovery.
  • Energy Expenditure during Recovery:

    Using crutches can significantly increase energy expenditure compared to regular walking. Good nutrition compensates for this extra energy demand during the recovery period.

Preventing Muscle Atrophy

Muscle atrophy can be experienced when injured. It is essentially gradual shrinking and weakening of our muscles. It's a process that can happen when we're not using those muscles regularly or recovering from an injury.

  • Combatting Inactivity:

    Muscles can start to atrophy after just two weeks of inactivity. A proper diet is crucial during reduced activity or bed rest periods to prevent muscle wasting.
  • Fighting Sarcopenia:

    Aging and inactivity can lead to sarcopenia, a loss of muscle mass and strength. A well-planned diet helps combat this issue, especially during recovery.

Managing Surgery Side Effects

Nutrition in sports can aid in managing the side effects of surgery. The optimal nutrients can reduce inflammation, promote wound healing, and optimise the body's response to surgical procedures, contributing to a smoother recovery.


Dietary Strategies for Recovery

Recovering from an injury and aiming to get back in the game more potent than ever? Nutrition plays a pivotal role in this journey. It's not just about what you eat; it's about strategically fueling your body to maintain muscle mass, repair tissues, and reducing inflammation that inhibits your recovery.

Let's break down the essential dietary strategies and the best foods to eat during recovery to help you bounce back like a champ.

Maintaining Muscle Mass Without Gaining Fat

Striking the right balance between maintaining muscle mass and avoiding unwanted fat gain is key during recovery. Incorporating your diet to meet your specific needs is crucial. This means adjusting your nutrition plan based on your activity level, metabolism, and the stage of recovery you're in.

Should Be Tailored to Individual Athlete's Needs

Every athlete is unique, and so are their nutritional requirements. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work as effectively as a tailored approach to your specific needs. Meeting your diet to your body's needs and preferences is essential for a successful recovery. Working closely with a nutritionist can help customise a plan that aligns with your goals.


Proteins and Carbohydrates Can Inhibit Muscle Breakdown and Atrophy

Proteins and carbohydrates aren't just part of a regular diet – they play crucial roles in preventing muscle breakdown and atrophy during recovery. Proteins aid in muscle repair and offset anabolic resistance, while carbohydrates provide the necessary fuel for the body, allowing proteins to do their job effectively.

Best Foods to Eat During the Recovery Period

The road to healing is paved with some delicious treasures. We're discussing the best foods to munch on during your recovery period. Think of these goodies as your squad, helping you bounce back stronger and better.


Protein is your muscle's best friend during recovery. It reinforces muscle tissue and helps offset anabolic resistance, a common issue during inactivity. 

Include sources like chicken, beef, fish, beans, tofu, and nuts in your recovery diet. Grab a Blue Dinosaur protein bar loaded with nuts for a convenient protein boost.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to reducing inflammation. Incorporate oranges, grapefruit, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes into your meals to harness its benefits during recovery.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

These fatty acids are inflammation fighters. Include walnuts, chia seeds, fish, canola, sunflower, corn, and coconut oil to help reduce inflammation and support healing.


Zinc is a hero for healing wounded tissue. Add zinc-rich foods like meat, fish, shellfish, whole grains, and nuts to your plate for a speedy recovery.

Vitamin D and Calcium

These vitamins are essential for healing broken bones. Load up on broccoli, almonds, okra, and dairy to support bone recovery during your healing journey.


Fibre is your friend for controlling weight gain during periods of immobilisation. Include fibre-rich foods like broccoli, spinach, and fruits to keep your weight in check during recovery.


Antioxidants are inflammation-busting powerhouses. Oranges, tomatoes, peppers, nuts, and seeds are all packed with these healing compounds.


Iron is a crucial player in injury repair. Red meat, eggs, and fish are excellent sources to ensure you get enough iron for a speedy recovery.

Magnesium and Potassium

These minerals are vital for nerves, muscles, and bone health. Nuts, legumes, whole grains, and seeds are all great sources of magnesium and potassium.


Carbs are your body's fuel during recovery, ensuring that the protein you consume can be effectively used to repair muscle tissue. Whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables should be your go-to sources.


Copper is essential for red blood cell formation, aiding in oxygen transportation. Incorporate sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, cashews, and shiitake mushrooms into your diet to meet your copper needs.


Best Food to Eat for Specific Sports Injuries

Regarding healing from sports injuries, what you eat can be crucial in the recovery process. The right nutrients can aid tissue repair, reduce inflammation, and replenish essential vitamins and minerals. Let's explore the best foods tailored for specific sports injuries, helping you get back on your feet and in the game!


  • Protein-Rich Snack

    Opt for a protein-rich snack to support recovery after a concussion. Protein aids in tissue repair and regeneration. Consider a snack bar with 10-20 grams of protein. 


  • Calcium:

For fractures, ensuring an adequate intake of calcium is vital. Calcium is essential for bone health and can aid in healing fractures.

Tendon and Ligament Injury

  • Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is crucial for tendon and ligament health. It supports collagen production, a protein necessary for tendon and ligament strength.

Oro-Facial Injuries or Surgery

  • Easy-to-Chew Foods:

For oro-facial injuries or post-surgery, opt for less textured foods that are easy to chew. This aids in ensuring proper nutrition while accommodating any challenges in chewing.


  • Fluids:

Staying well-hydrated is crucial for skin turgor and tissue oxygenation during the healing of wounds.
  • Arginine, Glutamine, Vitamins A, C, D, Zinc:

These nutrients aid in wound closure and support overall healing processes.


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, making them beneficial for reducing inflammation associated with DOMS.
  • Polyphenols (Antioxidants):

Foods rich in polyphenols, like colourful fruits and vegetables, can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation linked with muscle soreness.

Best Food to Eat After Surgery

What you eat after surgery can significantly affect how well and quickly you bounce back. Think of it like the ultimate after-party for your body's hard work during surgery. 

So, let's dig into the best food after surgery – the ultimate prescription for a speedy recovery and a delicious way to celebrate your victory over the operation room.

For Post-operative Nausea

  • Bland Foods:

Opt for bland foods like bananas, rice, applesauce, and smoothies to ease post-operative nausea.


  • Fibre:

Incorporate fibre-rich foods into your diet to alleviate constipation. Prunes or prune juice can also be helpful.
  • Fluids:

Drinking fluids, including prune juice, can aid in regular bowel movements and reduce constipation.



  • Probiotics:

Antibiotics can disturb the gut's natural balance, so consider incorporating probiotics, like yoghurt, to replenish beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Prebiotics:

Include prebiotic-rich foods like onion, garlic, asparagus, oats, wheat, barley, and mushrooms to support a healthy gut.

Nutritional Advice During Recovery

Food can be your trusty sidekick in this recovery battle. But hang on, we've got some ground rules – do's and don'ts, if you will. Think of them as your recovery rulebook, helping you navigate the world of nutrition during this comeback journey.


  • Avoid Junk Food: Junk food can contribute to inflammation, hindering healing.
  • Limit Fried and Fatty Food: Fried and fatty foods can exacerbate inflammation and may slow down recovery.
  • Limit Alcohol: Alcohol can impair muscle building and further worsen inflammation.
  • Avoid Cutting Calories: During recovery, it's not the time to cut calories drastically; your body needs the energy for healing.
  • Consult Before Taking Supplements: Always consult a healthcare professional before taking supplements.


  • Seek Help: Ask for assistance with shopping or cooking if needed during recovery.
  • Choose High-Quality Food: Opt for natural, high-quality, organic foods to support healing.

Get Your Athlete Bundle Here: Athlete Bundle - Fuel your recovery with the best, natural, and organic foods designed to support athletes in their healing journey.

Incorporating these foods into your post-injury or post-surgery diet can significantly aid your recovery journey, ensuring you return to your active lifestyle with strength and vigour. Remember, nourishing your body is an essential part of the healing process.

Blue Dinosaur creates what we feel to be the best, healthiest, purest and most honest snack food bars in the world. Our plan: Take the best ingredients we can get our hands on, smash them all together and convince the world that it is no longer acceptable to consume rubbish snack food bars. We will never use chemicals, binders, flavours, preservatives, or anything artificial, and we only ever want to make amazing food

Back to blog