Post Workout Recovery Snacks

Most of us know about the importance of nutrition and eating something to fuel us for our workouts. Our post workout meal or snack is even more important and is often overlooked.  One of the factors for proper recovery is nutrition and what we eat after our exercise session can set us on the right or wrong path.

The body needs to repair muscle tissues and replenish glycogen stores, the primary fuel used during moderate to high intensity exercise.   The American Dietetic Association recommends consuming 1 – 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body to restore glycogen levels and 10 – 20 grams of lean protein to aid in tissue repair.  Experts state high-glycemic carbohydrates, like potatoes and white rice, are easily digestible and quickly synthesized by the body and should only be consumed after a long workout.  Other high complex carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, brown rice, and whole grain bread, digest slowly and can be incorporated in your daily diet.  The best recovery snacks are those which include a carbohydrate, protein, and a small amount of fat to sustain you until your next meal.

Often times, people reach for a drink or shake labeled as “recovery”  for their post workout snack.  Be sure to read the labels and fine print.  These drinks are typically loaded with sugar and while they may give you that quick energy boost, your blood sugar will come crashing down shortly afterwards. Here are some ideas for recovery snacks to consume within 30 minutes post exercise:  (and don’t forget to have 8 – 12 ounces of water with each one)

Banana with a Tablespoon of Nut Butter

Bananas are high in fructose (sugar) and are a high glycemic carbohydrate so the body is able to quickly convert this into energy. Pairing it with a tablespoon of peanut, almond, or another nut butter, adds protein and a small amount of healthy fat. If you want something a little more substantial, smooth the nut butter onto two brown rices cakes.

Low Fat Chocolate Milk

This childhood treat is the perfect recovery shake. It has an ideal carbohydrate – protein ratio for muscle tissue repair and to replenish glycogen stores.  Endurance athletes will benefit the most from this shake and it’s easy to transport for those on the go.

Non Fat Greek Yogurt with Fruit

This snack is loaded with nearly 15 grams of protein, making non fat Greek yogurt a great snack for any time of the day.  Add some fruit post workout and you’ll get the needed energy boost.

Tuna on Whole Wheat 

4 ounces of tuna on a slice of whole wheat bread is low calorie (approximately 220) and it’s a great mix of carbohydrate and protein. Add a healthy fat with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.

Hummus and Pita

Hummus is made from chickpeas, a good source of carbohydrate and protein. A fourth cup of hummus and a whole wheat pita will keep you satisfied for hours at only 275 calories.

Turkey, Cheese, and Apple Slices

This is almost like a party appetizer.  Spread a soft cheese wedge over a few slices of lean turkey, add some apple slices, and you have a filling, energy boosting snack.

Protein Shake with Banana

On the move and need to pack something that won’t spoil? Two scoops of whey protein powder and half a banana will easily fit into any gym bag and provide you with a great recovery shake.  Just remember to check the label for the sugar content and look for hidden sugars in the ingredient list.