What you eat after a workout does make a difference. You need the right type of fuel to build muscles and improve recovery. Your body needs to replenish glycogen stores that you depleted. It requires amino acids for muscle repair and building new tissue. If you had an intense workout you also need to replenish your fluid and electrolytes. Healthy post-workout snacks fill those needs and fill the void in your stomach so you won’t be tempted by every sweet treat you see.
It’s all about timing your meal and what you eat.
Timing your food intake is just as important as what you eat. You need a post-workout snack as quickly after you finish as possible if you’re building muscles. If you’re doing aerobic or flexibility training, you can wait for an hour after you exercise. If your workout is right before lunch, breakfast, or dinner, skip the snack and make sure that the meal contains all the nutrients you require. Don’t forget to drink extra water after a workout. Sip it. Don’t gulp it.
Post-workout snacks can be simple.
Greek yogurt and berries make a good post-workout snack. The yogurt provides the protein to start recovery and muscle building. The berries provide the carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen and increase energy. A sliced apple with nut butter is another excellent post-workout snack. So is a small tuna salad or chicken salad roll-up.
You can use post-workout shakes or create your own with the help of a blender.
Commercial protein shakes may be convenient but they’re often costly. You don’t always know the contents since many aren’t quality-controlled. Some contain impurities that can harm the body. Use milk or yogurt if you make your post-workout shake from scratch. A chocolate, banana, and peanut butter protein shake has all the ingredients to build muscle while providing a tempting taste treat. Mix half a chopped banana with a cup of milk, two tablespoons of peanut butter, two teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, and a teaspoon of honey. It’s a yummy way to build muscles.
- Create peanut butter balls with dark chocolate chips, toasted oatmeal, and honey. Mix the ingredients together and store the mixture in the refrigerator. Pop a couple in your mouth for a post-workout treat that builds muscles, too.
- Use leftovers from the previous night’s meal. A slice of chicken breast on toast and some sweet potato wedges make a great post-workout snack.
- Healthy meals that are high in protein are excellent post-workout meals. If you are trying to lose weight, exercise right before a meal, skip the snack, and choose the meal.
- A dish of cottage cheese topped with unsweetened applesauce makes the perfect post-workout snack. A hard-boiled egg with a small salad containing lettuce, grapes, nuts, and veggies is also simple.
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