If you’re anything like me, the first thing you do after an intense workout is go home and open the fridge or head to the grocery store to find a quick recovery meal. Post exercise nutrition is key for a number of reasons. When you work out, you exert a lot of energy, lose electrolytes and break down muscle. It’s so important to re-fuel so your body can recover properly.
Recovery foods should be high in protein, nutrients and healthy fats. Stock up on foods that aid in digestion, improve your metabolism and boost your immunity. An ideal post exercise meal would have a mix of complex carbs, protein, healthy fats, and of course be indulgent and satisfying!
If you’re wondering what to eat post workout, check out 10 recovery foods to indulge in after a sweat sesh!
1. Sweet Potato Hash with Feta and Poached Eggs (The Nest)
Eggs are essential for tissue repair in your body. They’re a great source of protein and have a high concentration of leucine, an amino acid that builds muscle. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are rich in complex carbs, which you need in order to restore your body’s glycogen level that drops after a workout. Mix them together in this delicious concoction and you have a perfect recovery meal.
2. Avocado Lime Hummus (Recipe Runner)
Hummus is one of the best things you can fill your stomach with post workout. It’s rich in protein, which helps to re-build muscle, and carbs, which refuel your body with glucose. You need to make sure your muscles recover quickly after you exercise, and eating hummus will do just that. Add in some avocado for healthy fat content and vitamin D to boost your metabolism.
3. Greek Chicken Kabobs (Dinner at the Zoo)
Chicken is an amazing source of lean protein, which is essential for your body to recover post exercise. Protein helps maintain and repair tissue, and boosts your immune system and muscle mass. These chicken kabobs are paired with bell peppers and red onion, but you could really use any veggies you like. I would love these with a few slices of pineapple in between. Pineapple enhances your blood antioxidants level and reduces inflammation!
4. Creamy Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms (Slice of Kitchen Life)
Are you prone to muscle cramps post-workout? Leafy greens like spinach help to alleviate muscle cramps due their high potassium content. Potassium is lost through sweating and dehydration, which can occur after an intense workout. Mushrooms are full of nutrients, vitamins, proteins and antioxidants so they’re amazing for post workout fuel.
5. Wild Blueberry and Tart Cherry Recovery Smoothie (Wild Blueberries)
I love making smoothies after I workout! Or sometimes I’ll even make them pre-workout so I can drink them as soon as I’m done. When you exercise, you increase free radical production, which can damage cells, so the antioxidants in wild blueberries will offset the damage. Tart cherries are essential for muscle recovery, inflammation and oxidative stress. Plus, they increase melatonin so you can sleep easy after your workout!
6. Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts (The Food Charlatan)
We already know sweet potatoes restore your body’s glycogen level, but add Brussels sprouts into the mix and you have an awesome post exercise recovery meal. Brussels sprouts are chockfull of nutrients and improve the body’s metabolic processes. They also contain vitamin C, which can help your body fight off stress. Roast the two up with garlic, olive oil, cumin and salt, and you have a delicious post workout meal to indulge in.
7. Mushroom Spinach Omelette Recipe (Joyful Healthy Eats)
If you like to work out in the morning, get your day started right with a mushroom spinach omelette when you get home. Made with eggs, goat cheese, mushroom and spinach, it’s jam-packed with protein and nutrients. It uses one whole egg and two egg whites to cut down on calories, fat and cholesterol, and it only takes about 15 minutes to whip up. A perfect post exercise meal!
8. Crispy Honey Orange Glazed Salmon (Café Delites)
Salmon is packed with protein and omega-3, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps your body re-build muscle and is high in creatine, which helps supply energy to muscle cells. You also get joint support because of the bioactive peptides found in salmon, so it’s all around a super post exercise food! The glaze is made with honey, garlic, soy sauce and fresh squeezed orange juice, a unique yet tasty combination!
9. Lentil Chili (Little Broken)
Lentils are great to eat after a sweat sesh as they provide a good balance between carbs and protein. They’re also high in fiber and nutrients! This lentil chili combines onion, red bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes and chili powder, so it’s super flavorful and also nice and healthy! It’s a delectable dish to indulge in after a high energy workout!
10. Salmon and Guacamole Wrap (Sweet Paul Mag)
Whole wheat wraps are a great way to recover after you exercise. Whole wheat is an excellent source of fiber and nutrients, plus it provides slow-release energy, which will keep you satisfied for hours after you workout. Fill it with smoked salmon and guacamole, which are no-brainers for refueling your body. A delicious, fresh mix that’s sure to keep you full!
These recovery foods will help you and your body re-fuel after your toughest workouts! Pack in the protein, complex carbs, veggies and fruits to ensure your body recovers to its fullest potential.
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