Looking for a tasty way to refuel after a hard workout? Check out this Hash Brown Breakfast Bowl by nutrition Expert Cara Harbstreet that will hit the spot and support your post-workout recovery.
Complete nutrition from potatoes, eggs, and fresh veggies is a winning combination to add after any long run or workout. This may be the breakfast of (some) champions, and may very well help you become the champion you’re trying to be.
If you’re serious about meeting performance goals or nailing your latest training cycle for a race or endurance event, it cannot be overstated how important nutrition is to meet that goal. This is often an area that’s easily overlooked, since athletes of all levels like to focus on the latest and greatest gear, workouts and paces, or planning their event calendar for the season. But skimping on quality nutrition after training only undermines those efforts and can leave an athlete feeling under fueled and over fatigued.
The key to post-workout recovery meals is carbs. Carbs. CARBS. There, I said it.
Plenty of people love to bash on carbs, but if you’re deep into marathon training and consistently hitting long runs of 10+ miles, you are probably a starving pile of sweaty running clothes when you get back home.
A great fuel source to highlight is the potato, which can energize workouts and bring balanced nutrition to the training table. While potatoes have been mostly shunned by trendy diets in lieu of low-carb fad diets, the bottom line is that they are a cheap, versatile and nutritious ingredient to include in post-workout meals. They provide the carbohydrates, potassium, and energy needed to perform at our best. Whether you’re a serious competitor, weekend warrior, or just striving to be more active, there’s a place for potatoes in an overall balanced diet.
Carbohydrates are the #1 preferred energy source for every cell in the body – from your brain, to your organs, to your skeletal muscle, it all runs on glucose. This comes from the foods we eat (breaking down complex carbohydrate molecules into glucose) or from stored energy (glycogen, which is found in skeletal muscle and your liver). During exercise we can quickly and easily tap into these energy reserves. But after intense exercise or long durations of aerobic activity, these reserves get depleted and need to be replaced.
The goal of a post-workout meal is to provide:
- At least 50 grams of carbohydrates (this recipe provides 76 grams)
- Moderate protein, which is 10 grams or more (you’ll get 22 grams from the egg + plant based sources in this bowl)
- No more than 20% of total calories from fat (egg yolk and avocado are both great sources, this bowl contains 19% calories from fat)
- Adequate potassium and sodium, both important electrolytes (1980 mg of potassium and 480 mg of sodium in here – whoo hoo!)
- Fluids for rehydration (the reason I recommend pairing this bowl with at least 12 ounces of ice water)
There’s a peak window of opportunity for about 60 minutes post-exercise when the body is really primed and ready to replace glycogen stores and refuel for your next training session. That’s why short, simple recipes are best, so you don’t miss your chance to optimize recovery.
This single serving Hash Brown Breakfast Bowl packs in all the nutrition needed for prime recovery. At only 470 calories per bowl, it’s a nutrient-dense option that doesn’t blow your healthy habits out of the water. Remember, it’s just not possible to out-exercise a bad diet, and it’s VERY possible to overdo it with post-workout meals!
- 1 1/2 cups shredded potatoes or frozen hash browns
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 1/3 cup pico de gallo or salsa
- Fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1 egg
- 1/6 avocado, or 2 to 3 medium slices
- Dash of salt and pepper
Click here for the full recipe and instructions.
Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD is a Kansas City-based Registered Dietitian helping individuals jumpstart their journey to wellness. By breaking the cycle of dieting, Cara focuses on creating sustainable lifestyle changes for people who are motivated to reclaim their health. Connect with Cara over at Street Smart Nutrition.