Recovery Meals: Why You Should Eat More Carbs After a Workout
Maximize your workout results with tips for what, when and how to eat from a sports nutritionist.
There is a science to what, when and how to eat after exercise. Making the right food choices post-exercise can maximize results. Make those workouts payoff by eating smart following your sweat session.
After a workout, tired muscles need to be repaired and expended energy stores need restoration. In order to do this, exercise enthusiasts must eat. Protein is the obvious choice for muscle repair, but proper recovery also relies heavily on healthy carbohydrates. Carbs will refill energy stores and allow for muscle to use the protein. So if you’re used to only eating protein after exercise, it’s time for a recovery reboot. The ideal target ratio is 3:1 carbs to protein (that’s right — more carbs than protein for optimal recovery.)
Post-workout fueling is also a time-sensitive issue. For best results, recovery meals and snacks should be eaten quickly following exercise — ideally within an hour. To make this happen it helps to have healthy, recovery-friendly foods ready to go. Here are some fresh ideas no matter what time of the day you exercise.
If your workouts happen in the morning, opt for a make-ahead egg dish. Eggs not only offer protein but also antioxidants and healthy fats to fight inflammation. Baked egg cups, potatoes and some fruit are just what the body needs.
Recipe: Baked Eggs in Potato
If your exercise routine calls for midday sessions, refuel with a bowl full of fresh veggies, quinoa, beans and a heart-healthy dressing.
Recipe: Greek Quinoa Salad
If workouts come towards the end of the day, you’ll want to make sure dinner can be made fast. Stir frys are a healthy and speedy solution.
Recipe: Shrimp Stir Fry
Recovery snacks can actually be trickier than meals. To achieve optimal recovery with snack foods, reach for foods like Greek yogurt, nut butters, and hummus teamed up with fresh produce and whole grain munchies like crackers and granola. Or when there’s a blender nearby, whip up a smoothie.
Recipe: Blueberry Blast Smoothie