The Best Post-Workout Snacks, According to Sports RDs



IDEANEWSINDO.COM - Fueling your body with nutrient dense calories is an important part of staying energized to move. 

But can your post-workout snack choices actually help you reap more benefits from exercise?

Yes, post-exercise nutrition (and the food you eat the rest of the day) certainly affects how your body responds to physical activity and what your body is able to do, says Terence Boateng, RD, a certified exercise physiologist nutrition and dietetic counselor in private practice in Toronto.

Think of your body like a race car. “When that car is speeding around a track, it’s going to need plenty of fuel to keep it going,” he explains. 

“Similarly, our bodies will burn through carbohydrates and fat during exercise, so refueling efforts after a workout are important for replenishing the tank.”

For most people not doing excessive amounts of exercise or training, eating enough is more important than what you eat when it comes to exercise, says Ashley Leone, RD, CDE, a Toronto-based sports dietitian and owner of Gazelle Nutrition Lab. 

"For recreational exercisers, the more important thing is spacing protein throughout the day, eating enough protein, and eating enough carbohydrates."

That means you need to eat enough calories to fuel your workout, she adds. 

Not eating enough calories could stunt muscle growth or could leave you with too little energy to physically exert yourself to your fullest.

“Be sure you are meeting your protein needs,” Leone adds. Protein allows muscles to grow and get stronger. 

Get enough after exercise and all day long. People who exercise regularly should consume between 1.1 and 1.7 grams (g) of protein per kilogram of bodyweight each day, depending on how much and what type of exercise you do, according to Mayo Clinic.

If you’re snacking after a workout, rather than eating a full meal, focus on a combination of carbohydrates and protein to help replenish energy stores, as provide the longer-lasting energy your body will need to repair the muscles you just worked.

Waiting until your next meal to eat may lead feelings of lethargy and fogginess if you’ve just done a longer or more strenuous workout, Boateng says.

Finally, remember to hydrate with water. Not only is it critical to restore any fluid lost due to sweat, but it helps restore blood volume. 

Exercise can lead to water loss (through sweat), and consequently lower blood volume. 

“If we do not replenish, less oxygen and sugar can travel to the brain and other organs, leading to dizziness, fatigue, and more,” Boateng explains.

Snack Ideas for After Exercise

These snack ideas offer the right combination of protein and carbohydrates for your post-workout needs:

1. Crackers and Canned Tuna

Or try a different canned fish. “This combo contain carbs, protein, and sodium, which often need to be replenished after a workout,” Boateng says. Opt for whole grain crackers for even more nutritional value.

2. Berries and Plain Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is packed with protein, which helps the body recover, repair, and rebuild, says Boateng. 

“Calcium, found in yogurt, is instrumental in muscle growth,” he adds. Berries naturally sweeten the yogurt and add just enough carbohydrates to the mix. 

3. Fruit Smoothie

A blend of frozen strawberries, blueberries, banana, cinnamon, and yogurt offer similar benefits to berries and yogurt with the added boost of potassium (from the bananas). 

Potassium gets lost when we sweat and needs replacing, Boateng says.

4. Hard-Boiled Eggs With Whole Grain or Sourdough Toast

“Eggs are loaded with protein, but low in calories,” Boateng says. “Whole grains bring the necessary macronutrient of carbohydrates. 

In addition, they are packed with essential nutrients such as fiber, B vitamins, and minerals that assist in recovery.”

5. Turkey Slices With Cheese and Apple Slices

This nutritious snack offers lean protein (the turkey), more protein from the cheese, and nutrient-dense carbs, says Boateng. 

“These are all key components of the refueling process.”

6. Protein Bar

A protein bar can be great for refueling, but aim for one with at least 10 to 12 g of protein, Boateng says. 

And do check the sugar count; look for bars with 4 g or less of added sugars, according to Cleveland Clinic.

7. Whole Grain Toast With Nut or Seed Butter and Naturally Sweetened Preserves 

“Whole grain bread adds carbohydrates that are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals,” says Boateng. 

Top with a nut or seed butter, like peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, or sunflower seed butter. 

“Nut and seed butters are a high-energy, protein-filled, good-fat snack. Natural sugar preserves easily convert to glucose, which often needs to be topped off after working out to avoid the feeling of having run out of fuel.”

8. Hummus With Seed crackers and Raw Veggies

You’ll replenish carbohydrate and sodium with this snack, says Boateng. Do think beyond carrot sticks. Try cucumber slices, jicama sticks, or sugar snap peas.

9. Fruit and Nut Butter

Top apple or banana slices with peanut or almond butter. The combo serves up healthy fats and nutrient dense carbohydrates, Boateng says.

Writer: By Alexandra Emanuelli and Leah Groth

Source: everydayhealth.com

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