We’ve all been there. You finish a tough, satisfying workout and that familiar feeling hits: Hunger.
When you complete a strenuous workout, your body is craving three things: Water (to replace all the water you lost through perspiration), carbohydrates (to replace all the energy you just burned), and protein (to repair your muscle tissue).
Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, LDN, a certified sports dietetics and nutrition consultant for the Chicago Cubs, recommends that you eat a snack of about 200 calories within a half hour of your average 45-60-minute workout. But finding foods that you like that fit into this schematic can be challenging for some.
Here are some post-workout foods that’ll aid in your recovery and maximize the effectiveness of your workout:
Smoothies & Protein Shakes
Smoothies and protein shakes are perhaps the easiest and most customizable post-workout food. According to Kristin Reisinger, MS, RD, a sports nutritionist based in New Jersey, combining ample protein with carbs are a priority when recovering, and a smoothie is an ideal delivery mechanism.
Protein shake with banana – 2 scoops of whey protein powder, with half a banana, and water
(approximately 250 calories)
Bean Dips with Whole Wheat Grains
A dense bean dip like hummus–a dip made from pureed chickpeas–contains lots of carbs and protein, and it tastes great too. Pair it with some whole wheat pita bread, which will provide you with a slow release of energy that’ll aid in your recovery and keep your energy levels up for hours.
1/4 cup of hummus with 1 whole wheat pita
(approximately 275 calories)
Fruit and Yogurt
Use fresh fruit if possible! To supplement to the approximate 15 grams of protein you’ll find in an 8-ounce container of low-fat yogurt, add some chopped berries, bananas, or apples for a carbohydrate boost as well. Remember, carbs don’t just mean starches and bread! Fruit will give you lots of energy, too, without as many calories.
An 8-ounce container of plain, low-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup berries
“Ants on a Raft”
You’ve heard of “ants on a log,” right? Ants on a Raft replaces the celery with wholesome rice cakes, which are a great source of high quality carbohydrates. Feel free to be creative with the peanut butter, too–you can substitute it with another high-protein nut butter like almond butter or sun butter.
Two rice cakes, two tablespoons of peanut butter, and a handful of raisins
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