When gearing up for a workout, carbs are your friend. However, they need to be a blend of complex and simple so that the energy release is slow and steady, rather than a burst of energy followed by that awful sluggish feeling. Post workout, you need protein to help your muscles recover. Here are our favorite before and after fitness foods:
Before – Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana. The complex carbs will keep you going, while the fruit adds a little burst of energy. If you’re training for a race, bananas are perfect for raising potassium levels, which drop when you sweat a lot. The peanut butter gives you the necessary protein.
After – Grilled chicken and mixed vegetables. When your body is in recovery mode, you need a dish that’s full of nutrients. The lean protein and carbohydrates in chicken will fill you up without leaving you bloated. The veggies are good for heart recovery.
Before – Greek yogurt and granola. Greek yogurt is full of protein and it’s gentle on your stomach. The granola has just enough sugar to get you going. Just remember to choose a variety that is mostly nuts and dried fruit. The healthy sugars from the dried fruit give you a burst of energy, while the nuts will keep your insulin levels from dropping in the middle of your workout.
After – Veggie omelet with avocado. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and help aid in muscle recovery and growth. Fill your omelet with nutrient rich veggies and garnish with a few slices of avocado for fiber and good fats. Avocados can actually help your body better absorb fat soluble nutrients in your veggies such as vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins are chocker block full of with antioxidants, your body’s defense against harmful free radicals.
Before – Smoothies. Are you usually in a hurry to get out the door for your workout? Smoothies are your answer. They’re quick and easy and delicious. Use your favorite diced fruit, a cup of Greek yogurt and some chia seeds or flax seed meal for added fiber. The fiber will fill you up and stave off hunger.
After – Salmon. It’s the perfect post-workout food. It’s full of protein, plus contains bioactive peptides, small protein molecules that help reduce inflammation and regulate insulin levels to give your joints the support they need. Pair salmon with sweet potatoes for a complex carb that helps restore glycogen levels depleted during exercise.