Post-Workout Snacking

Wondering what you should eat after a workout? This answer may vary slightly depending on the specific activity and your goals; however, there are some general recommendations surrounding post-workout nutrition. Whether you are training for a big race, walking your dog, or pumping that iron, a post-workout snack is important!

Why It Matters
Our bodies run like cars. When we workout, we use lots of fuel to power our activity. We must re-fuel with food afterwards to keep our tanks full, just like we would need to do after a long road trip. Good nutrition after you exercise helps to prevent injuries and enables the body to best rebuild itself after the stress of exercise. Let’s go over the main nutrients to include in your post-workout snack.

The Power of Protein
Think of protein as building blocks that our muscles need to repair and rebuild after a workout. It is a nutrient that is found in many animal-based foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Plant-based foods like beans, nuts, and soy products (tofu, tempeh, or soy milk) also provide our bodies with protein.

Post-workout protein-rich snacks include: eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tuna salad, lean meats such as turkey, fish, nuts and nut butter, seeds, edamame, and tofu.

Don’t Skip the Carbs
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, helping to fuel your “engine” or muscles. Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods including dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and grains. It is important that your post-workout snack includes carbohydrates because they prevent our muscles from breaking down and refill our energy stores.

Post-workout carbohydrate-rich snacks include: oatmeal, sweet potatoes, fruits, and whole grain varieties of bread, wraps, English muffins, and pastas.

What About Fats?
Although they are not as important in the post-workout nutrition period as carbs and protein, fats can help you feel full and enhance absorption of certain vitamins from the foods you eat. Many protein-rich foods already contain fat such as eggs, fish, seeds, nuts, and nut butters. Other foods like avocados and olive oil are good post-workout sources of healthy fats that you could add to your snack if desired.

Main Takeaways
In summary, protein and carbohydrates are the most important nutrients to include in your post-workout snack! Protein helps our muscles grow bigger and stronger after an intense workout whereas carbohydrates replenish our energy stores. If you are partaking in strenuous sweat sessions, eating shortly after workouts is more important.

Putting It All Together On Your Plate
Here are some examples of post-workout snacks that you can find on Click ‘N Cook:

Bonus: Specific foods such as tart cherries, blueberries, and spices like turmeric may help speed up recovery and decrease muscle soreness. These foods are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds that may help combat the inflammation that naturally occurs in our bodies after a tough workout.

Written by:
Isabel McDonnell
Dietetic Intern