When you finish exercising, you are hungry. You need to replace the nutrients your body burned to give you the energy you expended. While you may be tempted to hit the drive-thru on your way home, there are better choices for post-workout snacks that will help your body recover. Try these six healthy options:
- Chocolate Milk – Have you ever seen the finish line of an endurance race? Athletes are often handed chocolate milk. Chocolate milk has double the carbohydrate and protein content than most sport drinks and even plain milk. It’s a perfect choice for a quick recovery snack. The high water content replaces lost fluids and helps to prevent dehydration, while the calcium, sodium and touch of sugar help athletes regain energy.
- Peanut Butter and Banana – Before you head out for a workout, pack yourself a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread or rice cakes. The protein and carbs in the peanut butter combined with the potassium in the banana will help you maximize muscle repair and recovery. Carbohydrates help you replenish your stores of glycogen (the form of carbs your body stores for fuel).
- Protein Shake – If you’re looking for the ultimate low-maintenance post-workout snack, look no further than a protein shake. And you don’t even need to keep it cold. Pack a scoop of protein powder, an empty water bottle and an 8-ounce carton of shelf stable almond milk in your bag. When you’re finished exercising, add the powder and milk to your bottle, shake and drink. Most protein powders come in delicious flavors, too, like chocolate and vanilla.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs – At the beginning of the week, boil a few eggs and keep them in the fridge. When you finish a workout, grab one and go. They’re loaded with all the protein and fat you need to recover. But be sure to add a source of carbohydrate, like whole grain toast or crackers since you’ll need some carbs to replenish your glycogen stores.
- Tuna – It doesn’t sound like a logical choice, but in fact, tuna can be an excellent post workout recovery meal. Tuna is low in fat, but packed with protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Combine it with whole grain crackers or toast, and you have the perfect rebound snack after that long run.