Post workout snacks shouldn’t be skipped. They provide your body with necessary nutrients to replenish calories burned and also feed your muscles. Eating small amounts of food after a strenuous workout will help you recover faster. Working out shouldn’t be all about losing weight. In addition to your slimming waistline you are streamlining your body to a healthier you. Research shows regular exercise can help reduce cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Staying active also has positive effects on better sleep patterns, energy, and mood. Let’s examine what to eat for post workout snacks to optimize your regimen.
Timing is Everything
You need to eat soon after a workout. This is because it helps to restore the glycogen that has been depleted during your time exercising. Eating protein in a timely fashion prepares your muscles for a speedy recovery; this is especially important after weight training. If a meal isn’t possible, consider post workout snacks within 20 minutes. Think about eating complex carbohydrates like brown rice, or some healthy proteins like chicken or fish.
Moderation is Key
You just worked hard and did your body good. Be careful not to overcompensate and overdo it with your post workout snacks. Practice a healthy ratio that fits your body. This is especially true if you are trying to lose weight. Avoid post workout snacks like energy drinks, bars, sugary smoothies, or those gimmicky smoothie bars at the gym. These things can counteract your goals and quickly diminish your efforts. Try to keep your snacks to 150 calories or less.
One of the most important post workout snacks is water. Your body craves water to replenish the amount lost during your sweat session. Determining how much water you need will depend on the type, intensity, environment, and length of your workout. If you just did an intense run in the Sahara Desert you will need to consume a significantly volume of water. There are apps you can get on your smartphone to calculate how much water you need depending on your weight and exercise. However, do what feels right for your body.
Consider a cup of chocolate milk, or a slice of whole wheat toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter and half of a sliced banana. Another good snack is graham crackers with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Maybe you’d prefer one or two hard boiled eggs with a slice of whole wheat toast. Gauge your snack choices on when you plan to eat your next meal or intensity/length of your workout.
It is a good idea to plan ahead if you can. Make a grocery list with items to purchase and stock your cupboards with them. Doing this will help you to have healthy snack choices on hand. That way when you come back and you are famished, you won’t be reaching for whatever you can get your hands on. If you won’t be coming home for your post workout snacks, be sure to plan ahead and pack one for the ride or walk to wherever you are headed next.