After an intense workout, you may want to reward yourself with a nice, tasty treat. But your post-workout snack or meal can make all the difference in your weight loss and energy levels.
Speed up your muscle recovery and improve workout performance with these 15 best foods to eat after a workout!
1. Eggs – As you may already know, eggs are an excellent source of protein. But what you may not know is that raw eggs have no advantage over cooked ones. So, scramble up some eggs for the perfect post-workout meal!
2. Quinoa – For a whopping dose of vitamins and nutrients, look to quinoa. Quinoa offers more protein and fiber than brown rice and it’s easier to make. Combine quinoa with fruit for a tasty quinoa fruit salad.
3. Orange Juice – Ditch the Gatorade and reach for a glass of OJ instead. Orange juice is rich in vitamin C and offers more potassium than you’ll get from popular sports drinks. For an even tastier drink, make a protein shake with orange juice and pour it into a travel mug.
4. Bananas – After a sweat session, your potassium levels will be low. That’s why it’s a good idea to eat potassium-rich foods, such as bananas, post-workout. Bananas are also high in carbs that rebuild damaged muscles. Just throw one in your backpack before a run or prepare a banana protein shake.
5. Salmon – Boost your exercise recovery with a protein-packed supper like grilled salmon. In addition to lean proteins, salmon offers anti-inflammatory omega-3’s that help rebuild muscles. You can pair salmon with fiber-filled foods, such as quinoa or vegetables, for a filling post-workout meal. Try this maple grilled salmon after your next workout.
6. Blueberries – They may be little, but these blueberries can give your body the antioxidants and carbohydrates you need after a grueling workout session. These antioxidants aid in muscle repair and restore energy. For an even tastier snack filled with protein, try adding blueberries to plain, low-fat yogurt.
7. Dried Fruit and Nuts – For a quick and easy snack, grab a handful or two of dried fruit and nuts. You’ll get a healthy dose of protein from the nuts along with simple carbohydrates from the dried fruit. All you have to do is fill up a snack bag and store it in your gym bag for easy access.
8. Kiwi – Even a small serving of kiwi offers large amounts of vitamin C and potassium. This sweet and tangy fruit is also packed with antioxidants to reduce muscle soreness. Before you toss out the skin, you should know it contains even more nutrients!
9. Chocolate Milk – Yes, water will keep you hydrated. But if you want to fully recover after a workout, you should also drink chocolate milk. Chocolate milk offers the carbs and protein you need for muscle recovery, while also keeping you hydrated. Plus, what’s fiercer than a chocolate milk mustache?
10. Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are a great source of carbs and a variety of vitamins and nutrients. Make this a post-workout snack for a healthy dose of vitamins B6, C, D, iron, magnesium and potassium. Better yet, add a source of lean protein like a piece of grilled chicken.
11. Grilled Chicken and Mixed Vegetables – After a workout, your body needs to replenish its nutrients, and this dish will do just that. Chicken offers lean protein and carbohydrates to fill you up without bloating, while veggies in olive oil will keep your heart healthy. You can even top this dish off with some low fat cottage cheese.
12. Veggie Omelet with Avocado – When you grow tired of the same old scrambled eggs, mix it up with this veggie-packed omelet. Add a few slices of avocado for healthy fats and fiber.
13. Green Tea – If you’re looking for a boost of energy after a workout, green tea may just be, well, your cup of tea. Green tea is packed with powerful antioxidants to help metabolize fat and curb muscle damage. Plus, it contains less caffeine than other caffeinated beverages, leaving you energized but not jittery. You can brew a hot batch or drink it iced; it all depends on your preference. Just make sure you drink it unsweetened for a healthier beverage.
14. Water – This may seem obvious, but we cannot stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated before, during and after a workout. Drinking water will keep you feeling energized. As a rule of thumb, you should drink 2-3 glasses of water for every pound you lose during a workout. So, fill up your water bottle regularly for maximum benefits!
15. Eat SOMETHING – The main gist of this article? Eat something. After a workout, your body needs to replenish its depleted reserves of fluids, electrolytes and so on. If you don’t eat within 15 minutes to an hour of your workout, your muscles won’t properly recover.
But that doesn’t mean you should grab a high-calorie snack either. There’s a right kind of post-workout snack or meal and a wrong kind. Stick to these healthy snack ideas or similar options, and your workout won’t go to waste!