If you want to achieve your fitness goals, build muscle, and recover properly, eating the right foods post-workout is incredibly important. By nailing your post-workout snacks, you don’t just help your body recover; you also help reduce the amount of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) you experience and help your body replenish its energy stores that have been lost through exercise.
Why is what we eat post-workout so important?
When we train, our muscles use up their energy stores to get us through the session. This triggers the breakdown of proteins in the muscles. After working out, our bodies use the food we eat to rebuild the muscle’s energy stores to repair muscle proteins. This is why what you eat post-workout is so important.
Although it can be tempting to eat something quick and convenient, you should ideally eat a snack containing carbohydrates and proteins within two hours of your workout. Carbohydrates are important as they help replenish your energy stores, and protein is important as it helps support muscle growth and repair.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the top 5 post-workout snacks you should consider adding to your gym bag next time you hit the gym.
Greek Yoghurt with Berries
A great post-workout snack for busy people on the go is Greek yoghurt with berries. Not only does it taste delicious, but it contains the perfect amount of macronutrients to help your body recover after an intense session. The great thing about Greek yoghurt is that it has twice the amount of protein compared to regular yoghurt. A 100g serving of 0% fat Greek yoghurt contains around 10.3g of protein, 3.0g of carbohydrates and 121mg of calcium, which is important for healthy bones.
By adding mixed berries to your Greek yoghurt, you get a tasty treat and help reduce the amount of muscle soreness and inflammation you experience. This is because berries are full of antioxidants that aid muscle recovery.
Beef Biltong is a great high-protein snack, and because it’s dried and packaged, it makes for a convenient on the go snack. One 35g pouch of Beef Biltong contains 19g protein, a healthy amount of iron and zinc and enough calories to successfully replenish the glycogen stores lost through exercising.
Beef Biltong uses only natural, premium, grass-fed beef. It contains no nasty additives or preservatives, meaning it’s ideal for people on a specialist diet such as Keto or Paleo.
Peanut Butter and Banana smoothie
After an intense workout, your body wants healthy, nutritious food that will help you recover, so we always recommend something high in protein and moderate in complex carbohydrates. A smoothie made from a Banana, almond milk and Greek yoghurt is usually a great choice as it’s filling, and your body can quickly absorb it for energy, but if you want it to be even more satisfying, consider adding peanut butter.
Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, carbohydrates and omega-6 fatty acids, so it makes for a great addition to your post-workout smoothie. Some peanut butter brands are higher in calories, fats and sugars than others, so it’s always best to opt for organic or whole nut butter wherever possible to reap the benefits.
Yep, you heard right – Chocolate milk! Studies have shown that drinking chocolate milk after a workout can help aid your recovery because of its high-quality protein and carbohydrate content. Chocolate milk contains 50% more carbohydrate content when compared to plain milk or a protein shake, making it ideal for tired and aching muscles. Chocolate milk’s high water content helps replace electrolytes lost from sweating, and its calcium content helps improve bone health.
Quinoa and Vegetables
Quinoa is one post-workout food you don’t want to snub! Dubbed as the perfect post-workout food by nutritionists and athletes alike, Quinoa contains an impressive 8g protein and 40g carbohydrates per serving, making it a nutrient-dense post-workout dish. Unlike many other grains, Quinoa is high in magnesium and iron, which help muscles recover and grow.
Since Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, it helps the body successfully replenish all its energy stores, leaving you ready for the next workout. Consider adding some leafy green vegetables to Quinoa such as Tenderstem Broccoli, Kale or Spinach to get those iron sources in and top with hot sauce for when you need added flavour.
The main objective of your post-workout snack is to supply your body with the proper nutrients to aid recovery and muscle growth. Opting for foods rich in proteins and carbohydrates will help this, as they are generally easier to digest, allowing for faster nutrient absorption in the body. In addition to adequate nutrition, it’s also important to drink plenty of water after your workout. When you are hydrated, your body maximises the food you eat, allowing you to get the best results from all your workouts.