Post workout nutrition is so important. Not only does it prevent you from feeling fatigued and shaky, it’s also key for recovery. Eating the right foods after your exercise helps your body restore its energy stores, build muscle and speed up recovery. It ensures you reach your fitness and weight loss goals as quickly as possible. Whether you do cardio, strength or endurance training, it’s essential that you nourish your body properly with all the nutrients it needs after your workout. Here are 8 post workout snacks for weight loss and muscle gain.
How Long After a Workout Should You Eat?
To help your muscles recover and replace your energy stores, aim to eat a snack within 15 to 30 minutes post-workout, and a meal within two hours after you exercise. Eating after a workout is all about replacing the calories you used up. If you skip refueling after your workout, it will leave you feeling fatigued and foggy and get in the way of recovery. Proper nutrition is essential for recovery and reducing the risk of overuse injuries.
What Should Your Post Workout Snacks Consist Of?
Both protein and carbs are heavily involved in your body’s post-workout recovery process. Protein helps repair and build muscle, and carbs help with recovery and replenishing glycogen stores that were lost during your workout.
When you exercise, it triggers the breakdown of muscle protein. Consuming enough protein throughout the day provides your body with the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins, and also builds new muscle tissue. Generally, consuming 20-40 grams of protein every three to four hours is recommended.
As you workout, your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel, so consuming carbs after you workout helps replenish them. The amount of carbs you need depends on the type of activity you do. Endurance sports, for instance, cause your body to use more glycogen stores than resistance training, so if you run or cycle, you likely need to consume more carbs than if you do some sort of weight lifting.
When it comes to carbs, keep in mind that complex carbs are the most beneficial for health and weight loss. Simple, refined carbs like white pasta and bread are packed with sugars and lack nutrients, whereas complex carbs are more nutritious, higher in fibre and slower to digest.
8 Post Workout Snacks for Weight Loss
1. Brown Rice Cakes with Nut Butter
Rice cakes are a simple, healthy snack that offer a good dose of healthy carbs. They’re low in calories and sodium and are allergen friendly, whether you’re gluten, nut, or soy-free. Although they’re healthy, they don’t offer many nutrients, so are best when paired with a topping like nut butter for protein. Nut butter is a quality source of protein and heart-healthy fat to keep you satisfied after your workout.
2. Sweet Potato with Greek Yogurt
Sweet potatoes are a source of healthy carbs and are highly nutritious. They’re rich in antioxidants and fibre, which offer many benefits, including gut health. Greek yogurt is an awesome source of protein, and also helps boost metabolism and build muscle mass. Eat them together for the perfect mix of carbs and protein.
3. Chinese-Style Pumpkin Omelette | Spice the Plate
Pumpkin is super nutritious, loaded with vitamin A and C, fibre, potassium, copper and manganese and is a good source of healthy carbs. It’s rich in antioxidants and boosts your immunity, plus it’s low in calories. Combine pumpkin with protein-rich eggs, chives and a few other ingredients and you have a healthy post-workout snack!
4. Multigrain Crackers with Tuna
Multigrain crackers made with whole grains are rich in fibre, B vitamins and iron. They’re a good source of carbs and are made even more nutritious by topping with canned tuna. Canned tuna is high in protein and contains many vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A, D and B-complex, as well as iron, selenium and phosphorus. It’s also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Cottage Cheese with Blueberries
Blueberries are a great source of complex carbs that are also rich in fibre and antioxidants. They’re low in calories and are thought to protect against heart disease and cancer. Add them on top of cottage cheese, which is one of the best protein sources to help your muscles recover post workout.
6. Protein Overnight Oats | Eating Bird Food
Oats are a quality source of complex carbs and are also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They can lower your risk of heart disease by lowering your cholesterol and can also help lower blood sugar levels. These overnight oats are high in protein, containing a blend of chia seeds and vanilla protein powder. They’re perfect to eat post-workout for a healthy boost.
7. Whole Grain Toast and Hummus
Whole grain toast is a complex carb that offers a great source of fibre, potassium, magnesium and selenium. Whole grains can help control cholesterol, weight and blood pressure, and lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Hummus is an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it ideal for repair and recovery in the body. Toast a couple slices of whole grain bread and top with hummus after your workout.
8. Banana Protein Shake | Fit Foodie Finds
A healthy shake is a great post-workout snack. This one has 16 grams of protein per serving, as it contains a protein-happy mix of Greek yogurt and protein powder. It also contains bananas, which are a healthy, high carb fruit that are also high in potassium to help manage your blood pressure.
If you’ve been wondering what to eat after your workouts, we hope this post has given you the knowledge and inspiration to help repair and restore your body.
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