You’re sweating, breathing hard, pushing yourself to your limits, and meeting goals. After a workout like that you’re going to need some serious replenishment. Whether you’re exercising for maintenance, loss, or gains you need the right snacks to keep your body strong. During physical activity, your body undergoes a lot of stress. Muscle fibers are pushed to their limit, lactic acid is built up, inflammation occurs, and water is lost through sweat. You need to rehydrate and repair.
First things first, before you reach for that post workout snack, you’ll need to replenish any water lost through sweat or heavy breathing. Grab a big glass of water and drink to thirst. Be sure to keep hydrated throughout the rest of the day (or hydrate throughout the day before your workout if you’re an evening exerciser). Hydration drinks are OK once in a while, but odds are, you don’t need them. You can get those electrolytes through nourishing snacks without all the added sugars. If you are working out really intensely, such as marathon training, or it’s a very hot and humid day a hydration drink can be a good choice but choose them sparingly. Too much sugar, even in those drinks, can cause stomach cramps.
Chances are when you think of a post workout snack you think of a protein shake or bar. Your body does need protein to repair and build muscle fiber. However, you can get the protein needed without bland bars. Plus, your body needs so much more than just protein. From reducing inflammation, regaining energy stores with carbohydrates, and rehydrating, here are some quick, easy, and tasty post workout protein snack hacks that you’ll be craving in no time:
Banana & Peanut Butter
Bananas are packed with potassium which can help prevent muscle cramps and restore electrolytes. Top it with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (or the nut/seed butter of your choice) for a protein punch.
Every kids favorite has a spot in a grown ups healthy lifestyle, too. Packed with carbohydrates for quick energy and protein to repair muscle, chocolate milk is one of the best post workout snack choices.
Almonds are packed with antioxidant vitamin E which helps your body repair after workout stress. It also brings protein to the party to keep you feeling strong. The best part- nuts require no refrigeration and can be packed up in a gym bag so it’s a snack that’s ready when you are.
While not quite as portable as almonds or bananas, smoothies are a great customizable post workout snack. Combine frozen berries, a banana, protein powder, and milk (or water if you’re going for a low calorie post workout snack) for a chilly drink that will refuel you. The berries pack antioxidants to help fight inflammation, the banana packs potassium, and protein powder (or a scoop of nut butter) helps rebuild muscles for the next round!
In a pinch? Spread a nut or seed body on your favorite fruit or veggie (apples, carrots, celery, raisins….) and you’ve got a balance of carbohydrates and protein to replenish after a workout. You can even try hummus, another protein rich spread made from beans, on a rice cake, tortillas, whole grain crackers, or veggies.
Remember, post workout snacks might look different for everybody and every person. If you’re working out before dinner, be sure your meal has a protein and nutrient rich carbohydrate, like chicken and sweet potato. If you’re working towards gains, your snacks may look more like meals. If you’re working toward a loss, choosing lean proteins, like chicken or fish will give you all the protein you need, with less fat.
When you’re clocking time working out, you may find you have less time for other things- like household chores, cooking, and meal prep. Leave the meal prep to Fresh Meal Plan. Fresh Meal plans make meal planning easy. With options for any diet or lifestyle, Fresh Meal Plan can deliver meals that are healthy and ready for you to enjoy, after a workout or whenever you need them.