Whether you want to lose weight, bulk up, or build muscles, our list of meal ideas rich in carbs and proteins are good for everyone.
Many fitness enthusiasts only give importance to a pre-workout meal. But it is equally important to take care of what to eat after a workout. Because workouts are exhausting! and your body needs food nourishment and rest to speed up the recovery process.
In this article, we will specifically focus on the types of food and nutrients that will help you in post-workout recovery. Also there are sample meal ideas that you can try and explore different ways of enjoying eating food.
Remember, if you want to recover well from an exhausting workout, take care of the food nourishment or it will become one of the reasons why exercise makes you tired and not energized.
Why is a post workout meal important?
After putting a lot of effort into a workout, the body gets tired and besides rest, it craves food. For recovery and best performance in the next workout, it is hence necessary to eat a post workout meal.
Goal of Eating Food after Workout:
The goal of eating food after workout is to help glycogens get repaired and speed up the recovery process.
During workout, muscles use their glycogen stores for fuel. As a result, they get momentarily depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in the muscles also break and get damaged.
As a result, after the workout, the body tries to rebuild glycogen stores and try to regrow the muscle proteins. This is where the right nutrients after a workout play their role. Nutrients help your body get the recovery done faster.
Evidently, Carbs and Proteins after a workout are the best nutrients. They help:
- minimize muscle protein breakdown
- increase muscle protein growth
- improve glycogen stores
- and speed up recovery
What to Eat post-workout?
In a post-workout meal, eat foods that are rich in carbs and proteins and digest easily. The ones that will lead to faster nutrient absorption and quick recovery.
Listed below are the best post-workout foods rich in Carbs and Proteins:
Foods Rich in Carbohydrates:
Some of the best post workout carbs are:
- Sweet potatoes
- Chocolate Milk
- Fruits like pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi
- Rice cakes
- Green vegetables
Foods Rich in Proteins:
Some of the best post workout Proteins are:
- Protein powder
- Protein bar
Best post-workout meals
Listed below are the 12 meal ideas rich in essential nutrients making them perfect to eat after the workout:
These post workout meals are energy boosters rich in protein, low in fats and contain complex carbs helpful in maximum muscle recovery.
1. Grilled Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
It is totally OK to cook chicken and vegetables together. As long as your food handling is safe throughout the preparation and baking process, there is nothing odd in this combination.
In fact, it’s a luxury for people who eat vegetarian and non-vegetarian food alike to enjoy this mix of food that is rich in all kinds of nutrients. The more there is variety in food and the more your food is organic and natural, better are the chances of optimal health and recovery from heavy workouts.
You can try many recipes where vegetables and meat work together to produce a tasty post workout meal.
2. Egg Omelet with Avocado Spread on Toast
Egg omelet with avocado is just an example, there are a ton of other things you can do with eggs to make it a part of post workout meal.
Let’s begin with a fact that everyone agrees upon: Eggs are very rich in proteins.
In fact, there are things about egg proteins and eggs in general that are totally unique to any other eatable food in the world.
For example, the ovalbumin protein that is responsible for the egg white formation is a unique protein that you won’t find in any other food, at least in my knowledge…
Other than that, there are at least 7 ways you can make eggs part of your food and cooking. They are:
- you can use eggs as thickening agent in custards and sauces
- eggs can be used as leavening agent in cakes
- it can be used as a volume-increasing agent in frostings and meringues
- eggs can be used as an emulsifier in dressings and mayonnaise
- eggs can be used as a binder in cream puffs or meat loafs
- the coating ability of eggs can help crumbs or flour adhere to chicken or fish
- and eggs can also be used to clarify stocks and consommes
As you saw the list above, there are so many ways you can make eggs part of your post workout meal. It’s not necessary to fry or make an omelet. You can mix it with other foods and get the required proteins that your body needs in a post workout food nourishment.
3. Salmon and Sweet Potatoes
Technically, a white potato contains all the essential amino acids needed to build proteins, repair cells, & fight diseases. If there weren’t vitamin and mineral deficiencies, this one food would have been enough to eat all the time and live a healthy life.
Salmon and sweet potatoes is an awesome combination for a post workout eating. They are tasty and digest easily plus together they are giving you proteins and carbs necessary for the body to recover quickly from a heavy workout.
4. Tuna Salad Sandwich with whole-grain Bread
Bread comes in many forms. The thing about whole grain bread is that it contains much more nutrients than a simple bread that is usually made of white wheat flour which is nothing more than only carbs.
Those carbs quickly convert into sugar upon eating, and that’s a very bad thing.
As a rule of thumb, it is important to eat the kind of foods that convert slowly into sugars or don’t convert into sugars at all. Because the body can’t always keep up the pace of generating the insulin to balance sugars coming in from food and it can result in many health problems.
Instead, when you eat a whole grain bread, with foods like tuna and vegetables, you are giving your body the nutrients that it actually needs. Things like zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, they all get covered in your diet when you mix a whole grain bread with vegetables like different salads plus make a sandwich of many different healthy foods.
5. Whey protein, Oatmeal, Almonds, and Bananas
These are the quick post workout foods if you don’t want to prepare something for a meal. You can buy whey protein online here and all other foods, Oatmeal, almonds, and bananas are easily available in the market.
This combination is enough to give you a nutritional boost necessary for the body to recover from workout.
6. Cottage Cheese and Fruits
Fresh cheese curd, also known as cottage cheese has a mild flavor & a creamy soupy texture that is non-homogenous.
This is another post workout food idea that doesn’t need any preparation and can be bought online. Once opened, a single packet can last up to 2 weeks easily but do take care of putting it in a cool place like fridge.
Cheese curd contains both proteins and carbs and a low amount of fat and goes well with fruits if you don’t want to eat fruits without mixing with something. Overall, it makes a very nice and tasty post workout meal with fruits.
7. Pita with hummus
Pita bread and hummus is a very healthy combo of food that will keep you full for hours. The spread in it is made from chickpeas, which is rich in potassium, calcium, vitamin A, & folate, among other vitamins.
The protein and healthy fat in pitta and hummus combined with a delicious taste is all you need in a post workout meal. The whole wheat pita bread makes it a complete snack that will keep you full for hours and help in recovering from workout well.
8. Peanut Butter with some Rice Crackers
Peanut butter with rice crackers is a good combination for an in-between meal. If you want to wait for lunch or dinner after workout but your stomach is empty and craving for food, this combination will work well for you.
It’s an easily digestible food combination made up of healthy nutrients.
9. Almond Butter with Grain Toast
For a protein filled breakfast in a post workout meal, this combination of almond butter and grain toast is an awesome combination.
You can pack a savory almond butter sandwich. Spread some almonds and butter on a whole grain bread and if possible, add in some cucumbers, bean sprouts, jicama, apple slices, or chia seeds.
Or if you think that’s too much, just go with almond butter on a grain toast. That will be enough for essential nutrients rich post workout meal.
10. Skim Milk and Cereal
Cereals come in a lot of flavors nowadays. But the good thing is they all digest easily and quickly.
Milk is good to take care of your calcium needs and it helps the bones in staying strong. Skim milk and cereal hence is a good combination of light and quick post workout meal.
11. Yogurt, Berries, and Granola
Granola is a high in sugar food. Combined with milk, natural yogurt or fresh fruits, this sugery food can become a more balanced breakfast, and will add calcium, protein, vitamins & minerals to your post workout meal.
12. Protein shake and Banana
Bananas go well with a protein shake. They offer a sweet flavor plus creamy texture, but they are also packed with powerful nutrients & fiber that keeps you feeling full until lunchtime.
When to eat after a workout?
It is recommended to eat food within 45 minutes after working out.
Though the timing does not need to be exact, it is better to eat something as early as possible.
In fact, experts say that the delay in carbs consumption as little as two hours after a workout can lead to 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis. But if a meal is consumed before a workout, it is expected that the benefits from that meal will still help after workout.
Putting all things together:
Consuming carbs and proteins is very important after workout. They stimulate muscle protein synthesis, enhance the body’s recovery and improve your performance for the next workout.
Try to eat within 45 minutes after the workout or eat something an hour or two before exercising so that the effects of nourishment and repair food will bring to your body is still there.