No matter the type of workout you’ve just engaged in—whether it’s a hard cardio session or a tough weight lifting session—eating right after a workout can help your body replenish its energy and facilitate efficient muscle repairs. What’s important is the type of food you eat after your workout. So, put down those harmful albeit well-deserved Oreos and consider eating the following foods instead.
1. Peanut Butter on Whole Wheat
When you’re starving after an intense stint at the gym, you want something easy. Don’t just reach for a bag of chips or a sweet dessert; stick to your favorite kid-friendly meal. Grab a slice of whole wheat bread, skip the sugary jelly, and go straight for the PB. Peanut butter will give your body the dose of protein it’s seeking, and its fiber content will make you feel nice and full. If you’re craving a bit of sweetness, add a banana in your sandwich—the added potassium will aid in both muscle and heart recovery.
2. Scrambled Eggs With Veggies
Eggs pack a powerful punch, which is just what you need after a good workout. Just one egg contains 6.3 grams of protein and plenty of helpful vitamins. Whip some up in a skillet along with whatever veggies you have on hand. Chopped bell peppers and onions are great options.
3. Protein Packed Smoothie
No, we’re not talking about a yummy ice-cream based strawberry concoction. Instead, use low-fat yogurt and a protein-dense nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter, etc.) to create a smoothie that’s both healthy and energy-boosting. You can also toss in some berries or honey for added natural sugar.
4. Grilled Salmon With Brown Rice
If you’re craving a real meal, keep it simple with this healthy concoction. Brown rice is a whole grain and therefore contains more vitamins and fiber than white rice, and salmon is a superfood when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids and protein. In the mood for some spice? Try blackening your salmon with paprika, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and oregano.
5. Carrots and Hummus
The chickpeas in hummus contain protein and carbs, which can replenish your body after a hard workout. Although you could scoop your hummus with pita chips, a healthier option is to stick to low-calorie veggies like carrots (or even celery if you like them better). They’ll fill you up without making you feel bloated or sluggish.
6. Greek Yogurt with Fruits and Nuts
Full of protein and potassium, Greek yogurt is one of the top options for exercisers. The probiotics will regulate your digestive system will the protein prevents your tired muscles from feeling achy tomorrow. Toss in some blueberries, almonds, or peanuts for an extra dose of healing antioxidants.
Although most people will tell you not to carb-load after working out, oatmeal is an exception to the rule. Your body takes quite a while to digest the carbs in oatmeal, which allows your body to take energy from the food for a long time as it repairs your sore muscles. Plus, oatmeal contains amino acids and glucose, which are also helpful in building muscles.
As much as you might want to run through the Taco Bell drive-thru on your way home from the gym, try not to give into temptation. Instead, stick to these healthy meals that will help repair your sore muscles and give you the energy you desperately need. Your body (and mind) will thank you later.