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15 Best Foods To Eat After A Workout

Nutritious food after a workout session is extremely important to maintain a healthy body. If you aim to stay fit, you are sure to put in a lot of effort during your exercising sessions. Not just the workout session, but the post-workout meal is highly important as well.

However, it has been observed that people tend to put in more effort and thought towards planning their pre-workout meal. On the contrary, the post-workout meals hold much more important and require careful planning and preparation.

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After you are done religiously flexing your muscles and tiring yourself out for the best outcome possible, you should not forget to reward your body with some healthy, energising foods.


Why Is It Important To Eat After Your Workout Session?

Our body is affected in more than one ways after physical activity. When exercising, our body uses the glycogen stores in the muscles as the fuel to workout. This causes the muscles to be depleted of glycogen. It is also likely that a workout session can cause the proteins in the muscles of your body to undergo damage [1] [2].

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And, when you are out, your body burns fuel from anything you have eaten before a workout, which breaks down the stored glycogen. Your muscles start to use the available protein to rebuild and repair the tissues within a few hours of working out.


How Does Your Body Work After A Workout Session?

Within 45 minutes after a workout, your body is especially good at absorbing carbohydrates and protein, which you may not be aware of. If you want to build your muscles, you should eat 30 g of protein and 30-35 g of carbohydrates within 15 minutes after a workout [3].

And if you want to stay in shape by losing weight, you can take your time and eat within the 45 minutes of you finishing your workout.

After a workout session, your body needs specific nutrients to repair muscles and stabilize blood sugar levels [4]. So, it is essential to eat a mix of foods that can improve recovery after a workout. Take a look at some of the most beneficial foods that you should add into your list for a post-workout meal.


1. Greek Yoghurt

Greek yoghurt has double the amount of protein and carbohydrates compared to regular yoghurt. You can mix yoghurt with cereal and fruits because fruits pack micro-nutrients which have been proven to fight muscle soreness [5].


2. Fruits

Packed with healthy and digestible carbohydrates that help the body to break down the nutrients, fruits are an essential addition for a post-workout meal [6]. Fruits like pineapple have anti-inflammatory properties that help in muscle recovery and kiwi aids digestion.

You can also choose berries and banana as well because the molecules present in bananas can quickly reach the muscle tissues of our body and can replenish their much-needed glycogen levels, thus strengthening them [7]. Banana milk smoothie is a good option.


3. Eggs

Eggs are the perfect post-workout food because they are high in protein and are also a great source of many other nutrients, which help your body repair after an intense gym session [8]. You can have eggs in whichever way you want to, be it scrambled, poached, boiled or a sunny side up.

Discarding the yolk and having only the egg whites is also a good choice as egg whites contain no fat or cholesterol. The best way to have eggs after your workout is to have five egg whites and one whole egg mixed - to extract the maximum benefits of the egg whites as well as the yolk of one egg [9].


4. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are good for providing carbohydrates which is an excellent option after an intense workout. This superfood contains 26 grams of carbohydrates to restore your glycogen supply. Plus, it also contains a healthy dose of fibre to keep you full for a longer period [10].

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5. Whole-grain Breakfast Cereal

After a workout, opt for a high protein, high-fibre, low sugar cereal. A bowl of whole-grain cereal is perfect for reloading your muscle energy stores. You can also go for oatmeal topped with almond butter or a dash of protein powder [11]. You can also have whole-grain bread.


6. Nuts

Eating a handful of nuts is the best option to replace the depleted levels of glycogen in the muscles. They help maximize your energy levels and promote muscle synthesis. Almonds, dried fruits like raisins are some good options [12].


7. Broccoli

Sinking your teeth in this green vegetable can do a lot of good to your fatigue after exercises. Being rich in vitamin K and choline (a macronutrient that is vital for the functioning of the most important organs of our body like liver, brain, etc.), broccoli does a remarkable job in boosting energy levels post exercises [13].


8. Sprouts

An excellent source of energy-giving foods, sprouts are packed with enzymes, vitamins, minerals and proteins. Since sprouts are in the form of predigested food, they are easily digested by the body and the stored energy is easily transferred to our system [14].


9. Salmon

Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids that help to lessen the post-workout muscle inflammation that causes soreness. This healthy fat is also known to boost fat burn. You can add olive oil to the fish to increase the dose of healthy fats as well [15].


10. Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk is another drink that can be had post-workout. The drink contains carbohydrates and protein required for muscle recovery. The water content will also replace the fluids lost as sweat and milk and will provide calcium that will help the body to recover faster [16][17].


On A Final Note…

It is always recommended that you consume a meal rich in carbs and proteins immediately after you have finished exercising. Most fitness experts suggest that you eat your meal within a period of 45 minutes of exercising.

Keep in mind that post a workout session, you should not remain without food beyond 2 hours. Following a good, nutritious diet post-workout will help you go a long way in achieving your fitness goals.

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