After a long, sweaty workout session, many of us might be tempted to reach for a donut or a Venti vanilla latte. Before you reach for a sugary snack, consider these smart tips for post-workout snacks.
When we exercise, our body uses the fuel we store in our muscles called glycogen for energy. Chances are by the time we finish a high-intensity workout, our muscles have been depleted of their glycogen stores and broken down. The best solution would be to eat or drink something that combines protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes to an hour after your workout. What this does is to replenish your glycogen stores.
Research shows our body’s ability to refill muscle stores decreases by 50% even if you wait just two hours after your workout to eat as compared with eating right away. Try to plan ahead for a snack.
Snacks you might opt for after a long workout:
1. Banana & Soy Smoothie
Combine one chopped banana with 1 cup of unsweetened soya milk and a small handful of almonds for extra protein. Add in a couple of cubes of ice in the summer for a refreshing pick up after workout.
2. Hummus & Pita
Pack homemade or store-bought hummus in a small container along with some pita bread or chips. And enjoy your snack immediately after you hit the gym.
3. Yogurt with Fresh Berries
In a small jar, spoon some natural yogurt and top it with fresh berries. Pack a spoon and you’re all set with a post-workout snack!
4. Almond Butter and Bananas on Rice Crackers
A delicious gluten-free snack you can eat as soon as you get home. Spread some natural almond butter on a rice cracker, top with sliced bananas. Drizzle with honey if you are feeling like a sweet treat. Enjoy!
5. Tuna Pasta Salad
Toss a few olives, tuna, chopped onions and rice or regular pasta with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Delicious!
Sources & Further Reading:
1. Fitness, 6 Smart Snacks for After Your Workout
2. Ace Fitness, 7 Smart Post-Workout Snacks and How to Know When You Really Need One
3. SHAPE, The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Your Workout
4. Best Health [Reader’s Digest], What to eat after working out