“What should I eat after I work out?” is the most common question I hear all the time from clients, friends, and gym-goers. Most people have been hard-wired to push their post-workout meal to be “Protein, Protein, Protein.” It is very important to get enough protein after you work out but studies have shown that there is only so much that can benefit you (a discussion in a future blog entry). So, I suggest that meals and snacks to be a combination of Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat. Whenever you eat a snack, try to have all three to make sure you’re getting balanced nutrition.
I know that it can be really hard to eat a full meal after a workout due to variables like our busy schedules. So, here are some great snacks you can munch on to properly refuel. They’re wonderful alternative to generic protein bars out there. You can enjoy these snacks at home or you can prep these snack beforehand, pack them in your lunch bag, and enjoy right after your workout when you’re on the go! They’re small yet satisfying snacks to keep you full until you find time to eat your next meal.
SNACK #1: Oatmeal
1/2 cup of quick 1-minute oatmeal (dried) + 1 cup of low-fat milk (hot) + fruit
SNACK #2: Cereal
1 cup of whole wheat cereal + 3/4 cup of low-fat milk + fruit
SNACK #3: PB&J
2 pieces of whole wheat toast + 2 tablespoons of peanut butter + 1/4 cup of blueberries
SNACK #4: “Chips & Dip” variation 1/2
1 pita pocket + 1/2 cup of salsa (or hummus) + 1 string cheese
SNACK #5: “Chips & Dip” variations 2/2
15 whole crackers + 1/2 avocado
SNACK #6: Fruit Smoothie
2 cups of frozen fruits + 1/2 cup of apple juice + water + 1 scoop of plain protein powder
SNACK #7: Bagel & Fruit
1/2 whole wheat bagel + 1 tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese + 1 apple on the side
SNACK #8: Yogurt or Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup of low-fat plain yogurt (or 1/2 cup of cottage cheese) + 1/2 cup of fruit + 1/8 cup of granola/oats
SNACK #9: 1/2 Turkey Sammich
1 slice of whole wheat bread + 2 oz of sliced Turkey + 1 slice of cheese + lettuce + tomato
SNACK #10: Plain or Chocolate Milk
1.5 cups of low-fat milk (+ 1 scoop of chocolate powder)
So, the next time you are contemplating a post-workout snack, try to reach for something that has a balance of all 3 macronutrients. It’ll satisfy your hunger and properly refuel your body after a tough workout.
NASM Certified Personal Trainer