This post has been updated: Jan. 21, 2013.
I have drilled it in over and over again to my clients and athletes: the importance of a post workout snack.
The post workout snack is responsible for replenishing the body with lost sugar and nutrients during a hard, intense workout and helping the body to recover. Research shows that people that have a post workout snack (particularly one high in protein) with have bigger muscle gains (= a toned booty) than those that don’t after a 30 day period. Not to mention, flushing your system with nutrients can help the time it takes for your body to fully recover.
Keep in mind, that results don’t come during workouts, they come during recovery!
But the hard part comes when the workout is done and you go “OK, what should I have now?” Well ponder no longer my friend, here are some great ideas to keep handy that your body and your belly will love.
- Protein Shake. I know this one is a bit obvious but a protein shake is packed full of protein (DUH), and low in fat. Not to mention that it is quickly absorbed and digested for quick use. For an extra boost of flavor, think about adding your favorite fruit which is a great carb option. A relish combo is ½ banana, some frozen berries and chocolate or vanilla protein.It’s ok to be creative here.There are many different types of protein available.
Personally, I use SunWarrior because it’s vegan, not chalky and mixes well. Before I was vegan, I opted for whey protein, however it can upset your stomach making you feel a bit on the gassy side. Just make sure to go with a high quality protein, you truly do get your money’s worth. My favorite whey was BSN Dessert.
- Greek Yogurt. Grab a container of Greek yogurt, drizzle some honey on top along with some berries and you are set. High in protein and with the honey a fast absorbed carb, you’re set. It goes down easily after a hard workout and the prep work is close to nothing.
- Chocolate Milk. Surprisingly the nutritional profile of chocolate milk makes it perfect for a post workout treat. If you’re vegan, opt for an almond milk version.
- Toast with jam and cottage cheese. Of course all natural jam. Again, fast and easy. I know the cottage cheese may sound weird, but seriously it’s delicious. Mix the cheese and jam together before spreading it on the toast. This is almost like cheese cake… it’s that good.
- Dates. This powerful fruit is the world’s natural post workout snack. I also keep them around for long runs so that if I need a pick me up during a run, I can stop by the car for a date. Easy to break down sugary treat, these are awesome. Toss a date or two into your shake even!
- Whole grain bagel or pita with egg whites. Grab some raw veggies, scramble up some egg whites (4) and toss them on a bagel or in a pita. Of course splash a bit of hot sauce for extra yum! Some of my go to veggies: bell pepper, tomatoes, herbs and jalapenos.
- Protein pancakes. If you workout before breakfast, then your post snack might be your meal. I love protein pancakes (this is my husband’s recipe, I leave out the yogurt and use banana instead)! I go through phases where I eat them until I can not eat any more, but they have been a staple in my life for over 3 years now. Give it a go!
- Oatmeal. One of the greatest creations was instant oatmeal. It is loaded with protein, refuels the carbs, and a good
source of fiber. I love the cinnamon maple flavor. Oatmeal is really easy to make and for some reason it’s a comfort food.
- Almonds. Talk about a snack high if protein, unsaturated fats, antioxidants and vitamins. Each almond has 7 calories and after about 20 you feel stuffed. I love almonds. They are great by themselves or as toppers on salads and sandwiches. Choose the unsalted option.
- Cottage cheese and fruit. When I was little I used to love cottage cheese and peaches and that hasn’t stopped. Talk about a great source of calcium, vitamin D and protein but low in carbs and fat. This is a great snack for women and its taste amazing.
What’s your favorite post workout snack?