If you work out on a regular basis then you probably know the feeling when you’re finished and you’re starving. You are a little weak and your tummy is growling. When you push yourself hard and deplete all of your reserves, it’s important to refuel your body for the best results.
During exercise, the body breaks down muscle protein structures and glycogen. You also lose a lot of water through sweat. Therefore, the key to any great post workout meal-plan revolves around replenishing glycogen levels, rehydrating the body, and providing essential nutrients that aid tissue repair.
There are certain foods that are better than others to help in the recovery process, especially if you work out with weights. Protein and whole grain carbohydrates are usually the most recommended. We all have our favorites and it should not be a big greasy hamburger. LOL
Here are some top foods that you should consider after a heavy work out.
Healthy Post-Workout Foods for Recovery
1. Fruit Smoothie with Protein Base
A freshly blended berry smoothie will not only hydrate the body after a workout, it also allows you to pack plenty of nutrients in a single beverage. A smoothie recipe that combines carbohydrates and protein provides the primary food sources required after a workout. Try blending frozen berries with Greek yogurt, whey protein, or almond milk. If you love green juice, whip one of those up instead!
2. Dried Fruits and Nuts
If you don’t have the time to whip up a full meal after your workouts, dried fruits and nuts are a convenient snacking option with plenty of beneficial nutrients. Dried fruits will provide a healthy dose of simple carbohydrates plus you will get a quick injection of protein from the nuts. But be cautious of the sugars! Almonds and Walnuts are a great choice. Pair it with a banana or some hard boiled eggs.
3. Grilled Chicken Mixed with Veggies
When your body is in recovery mode, you will need a good supply of proteins and carbohydrates. A dish containing grilled chicken and vegetables makes a healthy full meal to help your body recover. Grilled chicken will nourish the body with low-fat lean protein to repair muscle tissue while the vegetables shall ensure you get complex carbohydrates to replenish your muscle glycogen.
4. Tofu or Egg Veggie Scramble
If you are a vegan, it is still possible to get a health protein and carbohydrate meal for post workout recovery. Tofu scrambled with spinach, green onions, sweet corn, roasted potatoes and red peppers makes a colorful and nutrient rich dish that you can whip up for your main meal after hitting the gym, track or treadmill.
Or make it with eggs for that extra protein you need, if you are not vegan. Hard Boiled Eggs are great when you are in a hurry too!
5. Whey Protein Shake or Recovery Chocolate Milk
This fantastic recovery drink contains everything you need after a workout. It has carbs and proteins for muscle recovery, water to replace fluids lost through sweat along with electrolytes like sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
The chocolate milk is very easy to prepare since there are whey protein powders that come fortified with this flavor. All you need to do is take a scoop of your favorite whey chocolate powder, add to milk and mix thoroughly with a shaker bottle. You can even take this convenient drink with you to the gym and rehydrate immediately after a workout. Make it with water for a healthy punch too!
When Should You Eat After a Workout?
Nutrition experts recommend 30 minutes to 60 minutes after a workout. You want to help your body heal and replenish quickly so you are ready for the next workout.
Plan ahead and take food with you. Throw a scoop of protein powder into a snack size bag so you are always prepared with something. Just add to a small bottle of water and shake. Takes the edge off of hunger anytime too!