5 Best Post-Workout Snacks to Up Your Game
Selecting the best post-workout snacks can seem tough. On the one hand, you know your body needs fuel and to replenish what it used. On the other hand, you certainly don’t want to take in all the calories you just burned if you’re trying to get fit. If you’re having a tough time choosing the best post-workout snacks, try these five ideas.
The Best Post-Workout Snacks Fulfill Four Key Areas
Hydration: Water is important before, during, and after exercise. Although the general rule of thumb is eight glasses per day, you may find you need more depending on the intensity of your regime.
Glycogen: Carbs that don’t get used are stored in the body as glycogen. While you should have some carbs on board before you work out, so your body has the energy to use, you’ll need to increase your glycogen after an intense workout to aid in recovery.
Carbs: After exercise, your body is depleted of energy and needs a new source, so it doesn’t start breaking down muscle to get it. Fast-digesting carbs will give your body the quick boost it needs.
Protein: If building muscle is your goal, consuming protein within an hour of the workout will help repair muscles and encourage growth.
5 Best Post-Workout Snacks
Maintaining adequate glycogen levels is so important that some trainers recommend their clients keep candy on hand just in case they drop low and start feeling ill or sluggish. We all know refined sugars are not ideal, though, which is why fruit should be your go-to when you need to replenish. “A 4-ounce apple or banana, 1/2 cup of pineapple chunks, a 1 1/4-cup serving of raspberries or a 3-ounce serving of grapes provides 15 grams of simple carbs to help boost your glycogen stores,” says nutrition expert and personal trainer Melodie Anne Coffman. “As an added bonus, fresh fruits are also loaded with fiber to help keep you satisfied for a while after you eat,” she adds. If fresh fruits are tough to keep on hand or you hit the gym right after work, just toss a few packages of freeze-dried fruit in your bag.
2) Three-Protein Blend Smoothies
Ever wonder what the best type of protein to consume after a workout is? It turns out, there isn’t one, but three you should be aiming to take in, according to research done by the University of Texas. A mix of soy, casein, and whey amplifies the body’s muscle-building power after a workout because it prolongs the delivery of amino acids to the muscles. When a dairy-soy blend is used, the muscle protein synthesis rates remain elevated for as much as five full hours post-workout. If you’re trying to nail all three types of protein, the best way to do it is with a smoothie. Simply include soy milk, regular milk, Greek yogurt, or protein powders that derive from each of the three groups, and mix in your favorite fruits for the glycogen and carbs.
3) Trail Mix
Mix your favorite treats into a custom trail mix. Consider adding nuts, like peanuts, almonds, and pistachios for the protein, as well as freeze-dried fruit for glycogen and carbs. You can also add things like yogurt-covered raisins (dairy-based protein!) or maybe even a little dark chocolate to give it some sweetness, but be careful with added sugar. Most store-bought trail mixes and some traditionally-dried (aka dehydrated fruits) will have sugar loaded on top, so always read labels or make your own whenever possible.
4) Chocolate Milk
Yes, you read that right. According to research published by some brilliant scientists in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, the large amounts of protein and carbs found in chocolate milk can help you recover faster from your workout. It’s another hack to help replenish depleted glycogen that will give your muscles more fuel and may help improve your endurance if you’re planning to do more exercise.
5) Open-Face Tuna Sandwich
Mixing carbs and protein is better for a post-workout routine than protein alone, making tuna with a slice of whole-wheat bread one of the most perfect things to eat after exercise. Hold the mayo, though. Try to garnish your sandwich with healthier options, such as a dash of olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice.
Have the Best Post-Workout Snacks on Hand with IsoFrut
IsoFrut’s wide array of individually-packaged freeze-dried fruit is ideal when you need to boost your reserves and replenish nutrients after exercise. Keep a stash at home or in your bag, so you always have a nutritious snack ready when you need it most.
Got a favorite post-workout snack that wasn’t included on this page? Let us know your healthy tips and tricks in the comments below!