I can’t tell you enough how important it is to refuel after your workouts. For some reason, some people think that eating after they workout will counteract any calories they just burned and essentially make your workout a complete wash. But that simply is not true and thank goodness for that! That being said, what we choose to eat to refuel is very important.
After your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow those muscle proteins. Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. It is said that the ideal timeframe to replenish after a workout is between 30-60 minutes for optimal distribution of nutrients. So deciding to skip a meal or a post workout snack in order to loose weight is actually the wrong approach.
So now that we know we should be eating, what exactly should you eat to help maximize your performance and stay within your goals? This will depend particularly on your specific plan if you are following one, but for most and what I recommend for almost all of my clients is a balance of carbohydrates and protein. The amount of each is also going to be specific to your individual goals, but lets just say you are trying to stay in shape….try to aim for at least 20 grams of protein and 30-35 grams of carbs. Protein is an important factor as it will help restore the muscle proteins you just worked but carbs are also important as they serve to replenish lost energy stores and rebuild muscle rather than storing the calories as fat.
So now that we know that we should eat and when to eat after a workout, let’s talk about specifically what foods would be a good choice.
Here are some of my favorite post-workout snacks….
- Protein Shake – I’m pretty selective on my protein, but I find that whipping up a protein shake and sucking it down can be easy and fast, and sometimes (ok most of the time) I need easy and fast. My favorite combination is a plant-based organic protein (like this one), frozen cauliflower, 1/2 a frozen banana, 1 TB cocoa powder, 1 date and cashew milk. Don’t have protein powder? You can still make a shake and focus on adding in your own sources of protein like nut butter, avocados, chia or hemp seeds.
- Rice Cakes with Nut Butter and Hemp Seeds – I love this combination of carbs and protein and it’s a delicious snack! I usually go for wild or brown rice cakes with sunflower or almond butter and about a tablespoon of hemp seeds sprinkled on top.
- Bars – If I’m really on the go, I definitely rely on a bar to refuel. Again, not all energy bars are created equal and you want to find the least processed bar you can find. My favorites are RX Bars, Perfect Bars, Larabars and Kind Bars.
- Eggs and Toast – If I have more time and I’m feeling extra hungry, a great post-workout mini meal for me is 2 eggs (hardboiled makes it easy to just grab) and a slice of sourdough or sprouted grain toast with ghee or grass-fed butter.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite post-workout snack options in the comments! Feel free to share. 🙂