Don’t skip your post workout meals and snacks. Choosing the right foods can support muscle growth and repair. You’ll also get a jump start on replenishing energy stores for your next session. Here are some good foods to try.
Protein and carbs. This combination is perfect for recovery and growth. Protein builds and repairs muscle. Carbs boost energy by helping to replenish depleted glycogen stores. Aim to consume foods with both, ideally, within 45 minutes of exercise.
How much is enough?
Aim for about 20 grams of protein and 0.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. Track your results, how much you eat, how you feel and recover, to understand where adjustments are needed.
Complex carbs are a good option. Good choices include: whole grain bread, rice, pasta, quinoa and dark leafy vegetables. For protein try: protein powder, lean meats, Greek yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, eggs and tuna.
Try these combinations…
- Tuna on whole grain crackers
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Chocolate milk
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Eggs on a whole wheat tortilla
- Trail mix (nuts are a good source of protein)
- Turkey and cheese roll-up
- Green salad with avocado
- Quinoa salad with chickpeas
How you fuel your body will impact recovery, progress and even your next workout. Choose foods that support your fitness goals. You’ll find that when you fuel your fitness level will grow.
Sample daily meal
Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit
Snack: Guacamole with crackers and veggies
Lunch: baked sweet potato with a kale salad
Snack: a handful of nuts
Dinner: Salmon with brown rice and spinach
Salmon is excellent for relieving muscle soreness and it is a good source of protein. Each meal on the daily menu includes carbs and protein. Don’t be afraid to add a little fat in your diet. Fat helps you feel satisfied and supports absorption of nutrients. Just be sure not to overdo it. Finally, don’t use exercise as an excuse to overindulge. A common pitfall is to overestimate how many calories are burned in exercise and to underestimate how many calories are consumed. Use a food journal or app to be sure your calorie burn and intake are properly balanced for your fitness goals.