Incorporating the foodstuffs below into the meals that you eat after a workout will ensure that your workout has the maximum positive effect on your body. So, don’t let any of that hard work in the gym or in the swimming pool go to waste: eat for success and feel glowing, energized and strong after every workout. Read on to discover the essential components of a good post-workout meal.
1. WATER AND OTHER DRINKS
Water is not strictly a foodstuff, but staying hydrated after a workout is crucially important, especially if you have been sweating a lot. Want to liven your post-workout beverages up a little? Avoid sugary drinks that can damage your teeth and give you an uncomfortable and unhealthy energy ‘spike’. Instead, try tart cherry juice which has been shown to help with muscle pain, or soothing and protein rich chocolate milk (which scientific studies have found is good for reducing your recovery time).
2. CARBS, CARBS, CARBS
Get your energy back by munching on some healthy carbs such as wholegrain pasta or bananas and broccoli. All whole grains and plenty of fruits and veggies (apples and pears are other examples) are good sources of carbohydrate that do not contain saturated fats or processed sugars.
Your muscles thrive on protein. So if you want to wind up with big muscles after a workout eating protein as you relax and cool down is a smart choice. Meat is traditionally a good source of protein, but if you don’t eat animal products you can get your proteins from chia seeds, plant milks, tofu and peas.
Make a meal of it!
Mix up hydration, protein and carbs to create the perfect post-workout meal. Below are three ideas for great meals that you can eat after a workout to help you to recover.
1. A SMOOTHIE
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Add carbs with broccoli, apples and pears and mix in some protein with a little nut butter, chia seeds, creamy tofu (this adds a lovely silky texture) or yoghurt. Ready for some extra hydration? Add a cupful of water or tart cherry juice. Blend and enjoy. Smoothies can be wonderfully filling, but if you need a little more food after your workout, why not combine a smoothie with one of the other two options below?
2. A DELECTABLE WRAP
Grab some wholegrain tortillas and stuff them with cooked quinoa and broccoli for added carbs. Add some lean meat or BBQ tofu for a protein hit. Top with your favorite sauce and enjoy with a tall glass of water (perhaps with some lemon juice squeezed in for flavor and vitamin C). Simple to prepare, this meal will give you everything that you need to maximize your muscles’ ability to repair and grow, and your body’s ability to replenish its energy and its lost fluids.
3. A WHOLEGRAIN SALAD
Cook some quinoa and flavor it with lemon juice before stirring in some carb rich steamed broccoli and any other veggies that you please. Top with a couple of boiled eggs, a tuna steak or a tofu steak braised and covered with a delicious marinade. Quinoa is a fantastic source of both protein and carbohydrate, so it will be perfect for your muscles and your energy levels. What is more, it is a ‘lean’ type of protein as it contains virtually zero fat. To cook quinoa, rinse the grains out first (as they are naturally coated with a somewhat bitter substance) then boil them in a pan of water. Once the water reaches the boiling point, turn the heat down and simmer the quinoa for around 20 minutes, adding in other ingredients along the way. How will you know when the grains are ready? When the little ‘sprouts’ around each individual seed begin to uncurl.