You’re riding high on the feel-good, after-workout mindset, and now it’s time to reward your body with a post-fitness refuel. Eating after exercise is essential to prevent muscle breakdown, replenish glycogen stores and ensure a speedy recovery, but you have to choose the correct foods to help things along. This list of the top foods to eat after hitting the gym, with recipes, makes it easy and delicious.
Everyday bananas are a portable snack you can enjoy immediately after your workout, offering carbs and potassium, two muscle-friendly, post-workout nutrients. Add bananas to whole-grain pancakes, toss them in a smoothie, mash them onto toast with peanut butter or simply peel and eat. You can also transform overripe bananas into this impressive Upside-Down Cake!
This tiny grain is packed with healthy carbs and plant-based protein, two macronutrients that work with your body for a speedy post-workout recovery. Plan ahead and cook up a few days’ worth for fast food you can quickly snack on after exercising. It also pairs nicely with colourful roasted veggies in this easy weeknight recipe.
Eggs are a source of highly bioavailable protein, which helps to replenish and increase muscle stores after exercising. What’s more, they’re quick, versatile and more affordable than a shake at your smoothie bar. Instead of your typical scrambled eggs, try this recipe for Garlicky, Yogurty Turkish Eggs instead!
Chicken brings tons of easily digestible protein to your post-workout routine. Meal-prep grilled or roasted chicken at the beginning of the week to quickly add to salads, lettuce wraps or any other after-exercise meal. If you’re looking for a bit of heat, you’ll love this Healthy Sriracha-Honey Oven-Fried Chicken.
Eating fibre-rich foods before a workout can cause digestive distress, but afterwards, these foods can help to replenish blood sugar levels. Chickpeas are a post-workout superfood, containing good-for-your carbs and plant-based protein in one tidy package. Try whipping up your own creamy hummus and topping it with your favourite protein for a hearty, protein-rich meal.
Yogurt, especially the Greek variety, provides portable protein and calcium, two nutrients that enhance your post-workout recovery. Skip the flavoured type and go for plain, seasoning with fruit and honey or maple syrup to taste, or, add in lieu of protein powder to your go-to smoothie recipe. If you’re looking for a healthier dessert featuring yogurt, this No-Bake Saffron Yogurt Tarts With Mango is just the ticket.
A handful of nuts after a workout provides protein, fibre and healthy fats, keeping your stomach satisfied until you can get something more substantial to eat. Keep a small pack of almonds in your workout bag, top your lunchtime salad with walnuts, or add nuts to your cooking routine with this Coconut Milk Shrimp with Cashews, Snow Peas and Crispy Kale recipe.
After a workout is the best time to enjoy comforting, healthy carbs like oatmeal, which effectively replenishes hardworking muscles. Cook up a batch of hot oatmeal or try this recipe for Healthy Loaded Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies – it’s a simple grain that can be prepared in a flash.
Sweet potatoes are popular with the fitness crowd because they bring carbs, fibre and potassium to the table, assisting in the post-workout recovery department. And, they’re delicious, versatile and can be dressed up or down in myriad ways, like in this recipe for Ottolenghi’s Sweet Potato Shakshuka With Sriracha Butter and Pickled Onions.
Salmon and other omega-3-rich fish provide protein for muscle recovery along with healthy fats to reduce joint inflammation and keep your cardiovascular system in top form. The quick-cooking protein is the ultimate weeknight-friendly, post-workout dinner. Try baking it and topping it with spicy mango avocado salsa in this speedy dinner recipe.