5 Post Workout Recovery Snacks
Recovering after your exercise sessions is essential when training for an event or trying to achieve body composition changes. In the sports nutrition literature, we know that consistent recovery tends to lead to an increase in muscle gain and often better performance at future events. As an RD, I always recommend choosing whole foods first for your recovery. Luckily there are awesome choices out there! For a complete post workout recovery snack you want to focus on 4 things: protein, fluid, carbohydrates, and antioxidants.
Protein rich foods (and the amino acids they hold) are needed to help your muscles repair and grow. Antioxidants from fruits, vegetables will contribute to decreased inflammation caused by exercise. Finally, carbohydrates should be included to replenish your gas tank. In most every circumstance, we need a varying level of fat and carbohydrates to fuel our mind and body. Here are 5 balanced post recovery options:
Fruit/Vegetable Smoothies made with milk*
Cottage cheese or Greek yogurt with mandarin oranges or peaches
Turkey breast on whole wheat bread with tomato, lettuce, and onion
Banana and peanut or almond butter on whole wheat tortilla
Unsweetened dried fruit with almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or peanuts
Specific recovery needs will depend on the type of exercise completed and the individual exercise plan. It is important to take into consideration height, weight, age, gender, and activity level when calculating these requirements. A good rule of thumb for everyone is to start the recovery process within 30 minutes – 1 hour of finishing your exercise. Our bodies are more receptive to the nutrients during this time. The post workout snack will also depend on your environment. You may find yourself home shortly after an exercise session, or you may need something portable to fuel on-the-go.
Questions on nutrition for training can be forwarded to: firstname.lastname@example.org
*always check the label on your favorite milk to ensure it has good quality protein (5+ grams).