Balance is the key if you want to replenish those energy stores after a good workout. Check out these fun post-workout snack ideas to make it count.
BY: WENDY LOPEZ, MS, RD, CDE & JESSICA JONES, MS, RD, CDE
Have you ever left your workout feeling like you’re on top of the world…and then those hunger pangs start kicking in? Your stomach is still doing jumping jacks, you feel lightheaded, and you’re ready to eat everything in sight.
No matter what kind of exercise you’re getting, it’s important to stay adequately nourished. The general recommendation for exercise is ~150 minutes of moderate cardio per week (such as running, zumba, and dance) and 2 days of strength training (such as weight lifting, working with resistance bands, or squats).
If you’re regularly working out at these recommended levels, it’s important to consider your post-workout snacks to repair those muscles, while aiming for a balance of protein and carbohydrates for a boost of quick energy into your system.
Here are a few balanced ways to fuel up once you’re done sweating.
1. Nourishing Post-Workout Smoothie.
Before you start working out, take 5 minutes to blend up some fruit, almonds, and your favorite liquid base. Aim to prepare the smoothie right before you workout, so it’s not sitting out for too long.
For example, try 1 cup of frozen berries, ¼ cup of almonds, and use 2 cups of soy milk as your liquid base. This is a great post-workout snack because it provides a great balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. You can even add chia seeds or flax seeds for additional fiber and protein!
2. Tuna Kale Wraps
These wraps take a few minutes to whip up, and you can incorporate them as part of your meal prep routine. Grab 2 large kale leaves, and stuff them with 2 ounces of tuna and ¼ cup of hummus or ¼ cup of your favorite beans. Season with your favorite spices and enjoy!
Kale is packed with vitamins A, C, and K and is also a great source of iron, folate, B vitamins, calcium, manganese, and fiber. Consumption of dark, leafy greens (like kale) has also been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease due to its high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory function. Enjoying your greens in between meals is a great way to meet the recommended 3 cups of vegetables per day.
3. Quick and Easy Parfait
This parfait takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. To make your life easier, you can do all the pre-rinsing and chopping at the start of your week to save time.
Add 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt to a to-go cup, and layer with ½ cup of blueberries, ¼ cup of chopped almonds, chia seeds, and a drizzle of maple syrup. The almonds alone in this nutrient-packed snack packs 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber!
4. Hummus with pita chips
Hummus is a delicious way to pack in that protein and fiber after your workout, which you can either purchase pre-made hummus or make your own. If you decide to whip it up yourself, the best part is that you can get creative with how you make it.
Simply blend garbanzo beans (or your favorite legume or pulse), tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water, and olive oil until smooth. Add your favorite spices and enjoy with pita chips!
5. A handful of almonds
Nothing is easier than packing up a handful of almonds to take with you to your workout. This is a straight-forward, no fuss snack that’s satisfying and nutritious.
Almonds are jam-packed with antioxidants, which help protect the body against oxidative stress (the kind that can cause damage molecules in your cells and contribute to inflammation and disease). You can also pair them with your favorite grab-and-go fruit.
6. Easy Banana Split
This is a fun and quick snack that you can pack up and enjoy with a spoon. Simply slice a banana, and add dark chocolate chunks, chopped almonds, almond butter, and chia seeds!
Dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, and other powerful antioxidants. Some studies have even shown that the flavanols in dark chocolate can improve circulation and may help with blood pressure control.
Now that you have your post-workout snacks ready to go, who’s ready to get sweaty?
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: VADYM PETROCHENKO
Wendy Lopez, MS, RD, CDE and Jessica Jones, MS, RD, CDE are the founders of the popular food blog Food Heaven Made Easy. As Registered Dietitians and certified diabetes educators, they started Food Heaven as a creative outlet for two friends with a passion for spreading the word about delicious, nutritious living that’s cost-effective and simple. Learn more about Wendy and Jessica at Food Heaven Made Easy.