These are the best post workout snacks to make the most of every sweat session, and why you should never skip a snack for recovery.
Eating After a Workout Is Important
Why is it important to eat a healthy snack after a workout? For starters, exercise by nature puts wear and tear on your muscles. That’s actually how you get stronger. If you’ve ever felt soreness after a hard workout, or even a day of moving, that’s a sign that your muscles are repairing themselves to grow stronger.
All that repairing requires energy, of course. And that energy comes from one place: your diet. So every time you workout, it’s vital to replenish the energy you just expended and then some. This way, your hard-at-work muscle fibers can repair, recover, and grow stronger.
Whether you’re tearing up the running track, throwing around free weights in the gym, leaping around a dance studio, or practicing calming yoga, every workout is an opportunity to gain strength. And that can only happen with the proper pre- and post-workout fueling.
Go for a Pre-Workout Snack With Carbs
Before you even get to the workout, set yourself up for success with a healthy and complex-carb rich pre-workout snack. This is the food that’s going to fuel you to perform at your peak.
We’ve all had one of those workouts that just have you feeling depleted. Whether you’re hungry, tired or sore from a previous activity, it’s no fun to be in the middle of a planned workout feeling like you can’t make it.
Even if you’re not as well-rested as you’d like to be, with proper pre-workout fueling, you can avoid hitting that wall. Aim to enjoy a snack of complex carbs 2 to 3 hours before your workout. This gives you time to digest so the food won’t weigh you down. If you only have a short window before you start exercising, that’s also fine, just keep your snack a little smaller than usual.
Opt for carbs before a workout. You don’t need to go overboard with a full pasta dinner. However, a reasonable amount of easy-to-digest carbs will do it. Carbohydrates provide the energy you need over a longer period of time. Avoid high-sugar snacks, which can cause your energy to spike and crash.
The Timing of Your Post-Workout Meal Matters
There is a lot of disucssion out there about the best time to eat after a workout. And most experts agree that eating within 45 minutes of completing a hard workout is the optimal timing.
That being said, if you properly fuel before your exercise session with a healthy balance of complex carbs and protein, those nutrients might still be doing the work your body needs to recover.
Whether you focus on the pre- or post-workout snack, the most important thing is that you eat one and that it’s full of the right nutrients.
Eat The Right Foods for Your Post Workout Snacks
Speaking of the “right nutrients”, your focus should be on easily digestible, carbohydrate-rich foods. These are your parameters when choosing the best post workout snacks. Avoid any food that doesn’t agree with your stomach. As any adverse reaction will only be exaggerated by the stress of exercise.
Some of the best pre- and post-workout snack ideas include:
- Yogurt and muesli parfait with fruit
- Whole grain toast with hummus and cucumber
- Fruit smoothie topped with muesli
- A banana or apple with nut butter
- Sweet potatoes with cinnamon or other spices
- Rice cakes with avocado
- Brown rice
- Whole grain pasta with a mild sauce
- Dried fruit and nut trail mix
At the end of the day, do you have fitness goals that include building muscle, gaining strength and leaning down? Then planning and enjoying healthy pre- and post workout meals is essential. And with a bit of planning, you can be sure to have the right high-carb foods on hand, starting with a handy bag of Mu Mu Muesli or a pancake-muesli combo. Just make sure that you start the day off with the best muesli brands on the market!