What to Eat After a Workout - Healthy recipes and cooking tips for a healthier lifestyle

What to Eat After a Workout

September 6, 2023
What to Eat After a Workout

Many people often wonder what to eat after a workout. That’s because what you eat and when you eat it can play a part in how effectively your body recovers and recharges after exercise. Fueling your body properly after working out can help you train more effectively and safely.

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Not sure about the best thing to eat after a workout? Read on for answers to popular questions about optimal recovery nutrition, plus get some ideas for nutritious post-workout snacks.

Why should I eat after a workout?

After you exercise, especially if your workout was strenuous, your body needs fuel to help replace energy stores (glycogen) in your muscles that were used up during exercise. Eating after working out also helps your body build and repair muscle tissues. If you don’t eat, or don’t eat enough of the right foods at the right time, you may experience poor muscle recovery. You may also be more prone to low energy, dehydration and irritability.

What should I eat after a workout?

Ideally, your after-workout food should include:

  • lean protein for muscle repair
  • carbohydrates to replenish glycogen (the primary fuel source used during exercise)

You may also want to include some healthy fat, although it is not entirely clear how eating fat after working out affects your recovery.

When should I eat after a workout?

Research suggests that a snack eaten within 30 to 60 minutes after a workout, with a minimum of 10 to 15 grams of protein and plenty of wholesome carbs, will help your body recover faster from exercise. Your body’s ability to refill energy stores decreases by 50% if you wait to eat for two hours after working out compared to eating right away. 

What are some of the best things to eat after a workout?

Not sure how to make the most of your after-exercise meal or snack? Here are some suggestions for healthy foods to eat after a workout:

  • A smoothie made with organic milk or yogurt, frozen fruit and 100% fruit juice
    Enjoy this delicious and refreshing Banana Smoothie
  • A whole wheat pita with 2 tablespoons of hummus, lettuce and tomato
    Instead of store-bought hummus, use this flavorful Golden Sesame-Turmeric Hummus
  • A serving of canned minestrone, chicken vegetable or bean soup
    Prefer homemade soup? Whip up a batch of this healthy Minestrone Soup
  • Leftover meat, chicken or fish with brown rice and veggies
    Here’s a delicious Chicken and Rice Stew that’s leftover-worthy
  • Trail mix made with 1 ounce of dry-roasted almonds, 1 small box raisins, 1 ounce of toasted sunflower seeds and ½ cup low-sugar cereal OR grab a serving of this yummy Trail Mix
  • 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of jelly on whole wheat bread
  • A container of low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese with fresh fruit and a sprinkling of nuts
  • A medium baked potato topped with 2 to 3 tablespoons of cheddar cheese and ½ cup of chopped broccoli
  • A bowl of low-sugar cereal with fresh fruit, low-fat milk or soymilk, and a tablespoon of sunflower seeds
  • 1 whole wheat bagel with 2 to 3 ounces of turkey breast, tomato and mustard
  • A bowl of instant oatmeal, a cup of skim milk and a banana

Need some extra protein after working out? Try our power-packed Fruity Oatmeal.

And don't forget to treat yourself after putting in all that hard work! Make these Peanut Butter Protein Balls ahead of time for a sweet and nutrient-dense post-workout snack.

If you are looking for more quick and easy recipes to refuel after working out, blend things up with 12 Healthy Smoothie Recipes that will pump up your taste buds!

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