You can hit that gym for 3 hours burning over 2,000 calories, or walk your dog around the block…depending on your fitness level, you still need to think about what to eat to recover after intense activity so you can keep yourself in top shape without turning into a zombie the following day. It is recommended to have protein for muscle recovery and carbs/fat to replenish energy storage 30 minutes after activity. Don’t assume that because you have SOME protein you will ‘bulk up’ as it is just as important for recovery as it is for muscle building. Here are a few good options for post workout recovering, or to recoup after shoveling all that snow:
- Eggs – 1 large egg contain only 70 calories with almost 7 grams of protein. Pair some eggs up with kale, tomatoes, onions and avocado, and you have a super nutritious meal that will fill you up, and is surprisingly healthy.
- Hummus and Pita – Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) have both protein and carbs, plus when blended with olive oil and tahini, you have a very dense mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Remember that this is a bit calorically dense, but since you just used up a bunch of energy, this is the perfect time to add energy back.
- Trail Mix – Nuts for protein and fats, fruit for carbs, trail mix is natures candy! It also has the benefit of being portable…so mix your own and take it with you. Pairing nuts with dried blueberries and banana will also keep your immune systems in tip-top form.
- Quinoa – It is super trendy AND super healthy with even more nutrients than brown rice, plus the added fiber will keep you fuller longer. It can be eaten hot or cold and can be snuck in meals anytime of the day.
- Protein Shake – You may or may not consider this an option, but protein shakes have been specifically formulated for muscle growth, recovery, and storage. However, make sure you do not overdue it, as you may be gaining weight in either muscle, or fat form. You need no more than 20 to 40 grams depending on the type of activity you just finished. Also make sure you have carbs in the mix to replenish your energy as well.
- Stir Fry – Many people are very hungry after workouts, but as stated before, don’t assume you can eat truckloads of food. For those of us who like the ‘full’ feeling, its a good idea to bulk on on the low calorie veggies, with the addition of protein (shrimp, chicken, tofu…) and some whole grains. Sodium is an electrolyte that needs to be replenished if you worked up a good sweat, so a little soy sauce doesn’t hurt either.
- The Salad – Maybe not smothered is super high fat dressing or made with 50% cheese, but a well planned salad full of colors, crunchy nuts and seeds, and even some dried fruit would be an excellent choice after raking up all those leaves.
- Sandwiches – Protein and carbs in sandwich form. Easy to make, easy to carry, but tasty to eat!
There are 1,000’s of other options, so comment with your favorite post-activity meal or snack!