Workouts are hard and afterwards it can leave your body tired, sore, and almost always hungry. Sure, you can rewards yourself with a nice sugary drink or some fast food after all your hard work. However, that pretty much makes all that exercise for naught. Your body may thank you for that boost of fat and sugar, but you are doing your body no favors by spoiling it.
Exercise scientists say that when exercising moderate to high intensity exercises for 90 minutes or more, you should be eating a snack before and after your workout. This boost in nutrition helps restore glycogen levels that were lost and helps to repair to muscle tissue.
Foods You Should Be Eating
What you want to eat post-workout is good high-complex carbohydrates and protein. Many people believe that they need to eat almost all protein after a workout and carbohydrates will just incur more weight gain. While all protein is alright if you want to build muscle mass, it is best to eat a balance of both carbohydrates and protein. Also, after a workout you will want to replenish your salts and fluids that were lost through perspiration.
If you have put yourself through a fairly rigorous workout, these healthy post-workout snack options should be eating within 30 minutes after ending your workout. They should also be eaten with a replenishing 8 to 12 ounce glass of water.
Low Fat Greek Yogurt with Fruit and Granola
Greek yogurt is seen as sort of a super food for dieters and hardcore exercise enthusiasts alike. The low fat Greek yogurt is high in protien and low in fat and sugar. However, plain Greek yogurt can have an off putting taste, so many people add granola or fruit. The granola will give you a nice mix of healthy complex carbohydrates, the fruit gives great fiber and natural sugars. This is a replenishing snack, but will also keep you satisfied well into the day.
If you want a more hearty greek yogurt, skip the granola and put the fruit and greek yogurt on a whole grain frozen waffle. People often think Eggo waffle equate to horrible bad for you food. However, the whole grain kind, when not slathered in butter and syrup are actually wonderful for you.
A Banana with Peanut Butter
In general, fruit is always a great thing to reach for after a workout or any other time of the day for that matter. This snack is especially helpful if your day at the gym has left you particularly drained of energy. The natural sugars in banana metabolize quickly giving a near immediate boost in energy. The peanut butter gives a healthy dose of protein and carbohydrates, complex ones that will burn slowly and give you the energy to outlast the day.
Of course, this banana could also be used with some Greek yogurt and orange juice to make a fine and refueling after exercise smoothie. Smoothies and protein shakes are a classic refueling food for a reason, because they work!
Low Fat Chocolate Milk
Surprised? Low fat chocolate milk is a relatively well kept secret by athletes. The key to this recovery remedy is ‘low fat’, milk only becomes healthy when all the fat is skimmed from it. Chocolate milk draws the perfect line of carbs and protein to help repair muscle after a hard day of exercise. A bonus to this drink is that you can bring it with you to the gym and have it ready right after you finish. However, make sure to drink water first if you are dying of thirst.
Tuna on Whole Wheat
No, this isn’t your average tuna sandwich. Skip the mayonnaise and just eat the tuna spread over a piece of wholesome whole wheat bread. I personally love to sprinkle on a bit of hot sauce for taste. The tuna is an awesome source of protein and the whole wheat bread a fine easily digestible carb. This is, however, a sometimes snack. Because of the high mercury content in canned tuna the FDA recommends you do not eat more than two cans of it a week. What a sad world we live in where the most fantastic source of protein is almost all polluted.
An Apple and some Almonds
Really eat like a caveman with this snack. Something as simple as an apple and some nuts like almonds may seem overly simple, but they are both incredibly filling. Some of these snack options are not very portable when it comes to going to the gym, but eating within the 30 minute window is fairly critical. So if you live 30 minutes or more from your place of exercise, it is ideal to bring something with you. Can you think of a snack that is more portable?
If you want a lower fat option of nut, try replacing the almonds with soy nuts. They have huge amounts of protein and lower fat than almost all nuts.
Egg on Toast
Perhaps you are one of those that go for a jog first thing in the morning. Your post-workout snack is probably also your breakfast for the day. You need something hearty to get you through the day. Why not have a poached egg on some whole wheat toast. This serves as not only a proper balance of carbs and protein to repair your body, but is wholesome enough to keep you filled up all day. Don’t be shy to add a sprinkle of salt on top either. Remember, you need to replenish your salts after a workout as well.
Trail mix comprised of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and maybe even a chocolate chip or two is the ultimate refueling food. It has everything your body could possibly need after expending all that energy. However, since trail mix is primarily made up of nuts, dieters should be wary. Nut should be eaten in moderation as should all things. they have a very high fat content. However, when your metabolism is still revving after exercise, a handful of trail mix is the perfect treat.