When I first started working out reguarlily in 2008, I would focus on cardio and burning the most amount of calories as possible. Riding the elliptical was the most BORING thing on the planet but I was too intimidated to take a group fitness class or even touch the free weights. Although I lost weight doing cardio, I also lost a ton of muscle. I would exercise for 45 minutes, then go home and eat absolute junk. I literally had ZERO idea of what I should eat or HOW I should eat. And with so many ‘diets’ out there, it can certainly be confusing!
When I wasn’t seeing the results I was looking for, I finally decided to do some research which changed my entire approach to eating after working out. Another great resource was my uncle, who happens to be a personal trainer; he helped me understand what I should be eating based on my personal goals.
So, when is the best time to eat post-workout?
Usually within 30 minutes! 45 minutes at the very latest. Post workout snacks help to restore energy in your muscles and repair any muscle damage. I don’t want to get all science nerd on you, but the “Journal of Applied Physiology” did state that if you wait just two hours post workout to eat, then your ability to refuel your muscles diminishes by a whopping 50%.
Usually I snack on something right around 200 calories, then have another meal an hour or two later. I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite post-workout snacks that I’ve loved during my exercise history.
Apple and peanut butter. Because apples are the best snack. They provide energy, fiber and a sweet crunch. Slather on a tablespoon of peanut butter and you’ve got yourself a great snack.
Trail mix/granola. Granola is wonderful because it provides healthy fats, carbs (from the oats) fiber and a good source protein.
Veggie omelet. You truly can’t go wrong with eggs. I love 1 egg and 2 egg whites mixed with a variety of veggies.
Greek yogurt with fruit. If you’re going to eat greek yogurt, aim for an organic version. And you don’t always have to go for fat-free! Try a low-fat greek yogurt with fresh berries or banana.
Cheese and crackers. I’m not an intense cheese lover like some people I know, but if you are then this is a great time to get your cheese fix in! Eat an ounce of cheese with a few whole grain crackers.
Protein shake or fruit smoothie. I usually make a smoothie with a scoop of protein powder, fresh fruit, a little nut butter and almond milk.
Peanut butter and banana toast. OH HECK YES. Probably one of my go-to post workout snacks because … NUT BUTTER, duh. Opt for 1 slice of whole grain toast, 1 tablespoon of nut butter and half a banana.
Hummus and pita. Who says your snacks have to be basic? Grab a scoop of healthy fiber and protein-filled hummus plus a few pita chips for something flavorful, satisfying and delicious.
Cottage cheese avocado toast. Yes, please! The healthy fats, protein and whole grains are the ultimate refuel goodness. I’ve been in love with Dave’s or Ezekiel bread for my toast.
Cottage cheese and fruit. Another great option is cottage cheese and fruit. Usually I’ll eat a banana, cottage cheese and add a dash of cinnamon on top. Literally the weirdest, yet the most amazing creation on this planet.
Whole grain cereal with skim milk. For a quick snack, try a bowl of your favorite low-sugar cereal topped with almond or skim milk. If you can’t have regular milk, try almond milk blended with a 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder!
Energy bar/bites/balls. Energy bars are the ultimate goodness. Even better when you can make your own!
I hope you LOVE this little post-workout snack guide. I’d love to hear what some of your favorite post-workout snacks are in the comments below. It’s always fun to get inspiration from you