Eat Smart · Feel Great

Post-Workout Foods: Proteins and Carbs to Keep You Feeling Toned

by Lindsay Barton, blogger

As soon as your workout is finished, a post-workout meal immediately following exercise is essential for muscle recovery. The body must receive adequate amounts of protein and carbohydrates in order to repair muscles. Exercise wears down muscle tissue and protein is an important component of rebuilding tissue. Carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores so the body is ready for another workout.

Low-fat chocolate milk is the perfect balance of post-exercise carbohydrates and protein.  Freeze a half-pint carton before hitting the gym, keep it in your bag, and you’ll have a low-calorie post-workout drink high in calcium. An eight-ounce glass of juice and a hard-boiled egg are other great options. The orange juice is a good source of carbohydrates and vitamin C, and the egg provides enough protein needed after exercise. The orange juice can be frozen so it thaws during your workout; it will also keep the egg cold. Not a fan of orange juice? Switch it up with pomegranate, blueberry or cranberry juice.

An easy post-workout food to take with you is two tablespoons of peanut butter and four graham crackers. These crackers provide a good dose of healthy fats as well as the carbohydrates and protein your body needs after a hard workout. A medium or large banana and an ounce of turkey meat are another excellent choice. The banana is full of potassium and the turkey is a protein powerhouse.

As with any exercise plan, drink plenty of fluids to replenish your body’s fluid level. Stay away from foods high in salt and reach for nutrient-dense foods instead. The proper foods will help your body recover so you can look and feel your best!