Did the new year inspire you to get back into shape? As you ease back into a healthy workout routine, you may also want to consider packing a post workout snack depending on the type of exercise you enjoy. Typically, you’ll want to eat a post-workout snack after exercise that lasts at least 1 hour when you incorporate either resistance or endurance exercises. Why is eating something after you workout so important? When you complete a tough workout, you can deplete the glycogen (energy) stores in your muscles as well as break down some of the tissue in your muscles.
In order to replace that glycogen and promote muscle synthesis (ie. muscle building) you should try to eat a post-workout snack with a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. To be more specific, 1-1.5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight and 10-20 grams of protein. Also, plan to have your next meal within about 3-4 hours, making sure this meal also provides some healthy carbs and protein. When planning your post workout snack, it is best to have simple vs. complex carbohydrates as simple carbs are more quickly absorbed to better replete lost stores of glycogen. You’ll also want to make sure to drink lots of water to replace what you lost in sweat.
To make it easy, here are 10 healthy post workout snack options you can try:
- Banana and 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons hummus, chopped vegetables, and whole grain crackers
- Toast with 1/2 smashed avocado and fried egg
- 6 ounces plain Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup fresh berries
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese with fresh fruit
- Green smoothie made with 1 handful fresh spinach leaves, 1/2 cup chopped pineapple, 3-4 large strawberries, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt
- Whole wheat english muffin, slice of turkey, cheese, spinach, and mustard
- Sliced apple, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon almond butter
- Bran flakes, sliced banana, and milk
- One cup low fat chocolate milk
Tell us, how are you getting in shape this year? What are your favorite post-workout snacks?
- Aragon, Alan; Schoenfeld, Brad. Nutrient Timing Revisited: Is there a Post-Exercise Anabolic Window. iJ Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2013) 10:5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577439/
- Spano, Marie. “Postexercise Recovery – Proper Nutrition is Key to Refuel, Rehydrate, and Rebuild After Strenuous Workouts. Today’s Dietitian. (2013)15:18. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/110413p18.shtml
Deborah Davis MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian who practices clinical dietetics in Chicago, Illinois. She shares practical nutrition tips and healthy recipes on her personal blog, Dietitian Debbie Dishes. In her free time, you’ll likely find Deborah in the kitchen, camera and spatula in hand, developing recipes for her blog and freelance pieces. You can also connect with Deborah on Twitter and Instagram.