After sweating, burning off energy you potentially didn’t have to begin with, and working up a hunger, it’s imperative you chow down on something post-workout, stat! However, knowing what to eat that isn’t going to undo all your hard work is the challenging part.
While your body is telling you to find anything and everything starchy and oily in sight, your brain should be telling you to reach for the things to fuel your body, not to undo all your training.
While it’s a challenge to find food that isn’t going to add weight rather than help you to lose it, it’s not entirely impossible. Here are 10 of the best foods to eat after a workout, with number nine being the most unusual…
1. Scrambled Eggs on Toast with Avocado
If you needed an excuse to stop in at a flash café and buy breakfast instead of making it at home, your workout would be it. To refuel your body for the day, treat it to protein and fat from eggs, as well as all the goodies on offer from avocado as well.
Your body needs a chance to recover post-workout, and these two nutrient-rich ingredients can help get you back on track.
Everyone knows that whole grains are beneficial for you at any time of the day but did you know they are imperative after a workout? What’s more, quinoa which is a superfood, is one of the best things you can eat after a workout. It’s high in fiber, iron, and vitamins, as well as offering plenty of antioxidants as well.
One cup of cooked quinoa also has 222 calories, is gluten and GMO-free, and could even potentially be a suitable food to grow in outer space, according to NASA.
3. Sweet Potato
Often when you finish a workout, the thing you feel like the most is a big bowl of starch. However, rather than reach for oily, unhealthy French fries, you can opt for sweet potato – the potato’s less evil cousin.
Sweet potato features a great selection of vitamins and minerals, as well as being an exceptional source of fiber. And, rather than feel guilty for subjecting your body to carbs, you can relish in the knowledge sweet potato is exactly what your body needs post-workout.
Water doesn’t sound very appealing post-workout, does it? But, before you munch down on all those whole grains and carbohydrates, make sure you are replacing what exercise took from your body.
When you work out, your body can lose a lot of water through sweat – much of which you would have worked hard to consume during the day. You now must spend a little time to put it back in to prevent dehydration and remain at the top of your game.
After a workout, your body needs plenty of fast-absorbing nutrients to help it recover. For that, you need to eat food that will digest quickly and easily.
Fruit is the very thing to help. Include berries, bananas, kiwi, and even pineapple into your post-workout diet and reap the rewards. You can even take care of that sweet tooth without reaching for a chocolate bar.
Fruit, while featuring a lot of sugar, can help your body to recover post-workout better than other food options.
6. Peanut Butter and Banana Shakes
If you want something with a bit of substance after you work out, then select a protein shake with peanut butter and bananas. Not only will it hit the spot, satiating your hunger and thirst at the same time, but you get all the benefits of the peanut butter and banana as well.
Bananas are a great source of potassium, while peanut butter is an energy booster which can help with weight loss, heart health, and your daily fiber requirements.
7. Greek Yogurt
Whether you include Greek yogurt in a protein shake or you eat it out of a container with a spoon, you are going to get the benefits from both methods. Greek yogurt, while not a convention post-workout meal, is one that offers a host of benefits.
You can reap the rewards of plenty of calcium, probiotics, and B12, as well as being quick and easy to consume for maximum benefit. Greek Yogurt is also an easy food to eat on the go.
8. Granola Bars
If you want a snack with substance after a workout, then reach for a granola bar. While there is going to be the question of whether there is too much sugar, you can still enjoy the benefits such bars have for your recovery time after a workout.
For example, the unprocessed oats offer plenty of iron and fiber, while you benefit from a healthy heart courtesy of any included nuts and unsaturated fats. Not to mention the boost in energy!
It doesn’t seem natural to sit down with a tin of tuna at the gym after finishing an intense workout session. But, by doing so, you get all the benefits (and some side glances from other gym users as well).
Tuna, in many studies, has been shown to be beneficial for reduced muscle soreness following on from resistance training. To get the most benefits, you need to consume at least six grams of fish oil every day for seven days before resistance training.
10. Herbal Tea
Just like tuna, herbal tea doesn’t seem like a likely after-gym snack to enjoy with your friends. However, sipping on Yerba Mate tea, or any herbal tea, will leave you feeling happy, healthy, and full of energy.
Herbal tea contains nutrients that help your body to process proteins and carbs. It also helps you to regain your energy far quicker than if you didn’t drink tea at all. It’s not going to be easy sneaking a kettle into the gym, but it’ll be incredibly worth it!
When you put your body through an intense workout, it’s crucial that you nourish it in the best way possible. Normally, you feel like reaching for starchy, filling food that will bloat you but give you energy, but that’s not the answer.
Instead, you need to fill up on herbal teas, oily fish, water, fruit, and high-energy whole grains. By doing so, even when you don’t feel like it, your body gets all the benefits. You also don’t undo any of the hard work you put in at the gym!