15 Healthy Post-Workout Snacks

Pause                                 1 of 16

15 Healthy Post-Workout Snacks

You've just finished a tough workout and your body is screaming for some nourishment. What should you eat to refuel and repair your muscles? Something high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat. Here are some satisfying snacks and meals that will help your body recover from your workout and prepare for your next exercise session!

Note: Slideshow photos are for illustration purposes only and do not represent accurate portion sizes. Choose a portion size that fits your calorie range, whether you want a snack or a full meal after working out.

Fruit and Low-Fat Yogurt

Yogurt gives you a good dose of protein and a small amount of fat, while the fruit provides a boost of carbohydrates, vitamins and fiber. Choose a variety of berries (or other fruits of your choice) and try different yogurt flavors.

Cereal with Skim Milk

Make sure to choose a cereal that is high in fiber and low in sugar and fat. Steer clear of granolas—the calories can add up quickly without fully satisfying your hunger. Top it with low-fat milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk), and you're set!

Dried Fruit and Nuts

Nuts pack a huge punch of protein and healthy fats. Eat them with dried fruit when you’re craving a mix of salty and sweet, but make sure to keep your portions in check—the serving size for most dried fruit and nut mixes is 1/4 cup. One small handful should do the trick!

Turkey Sandwich

A simple turkey sandwich can often be the most satisfying thing to eat after a workout. The mix of protein from the meat and the carbohydrates from the bread is a winning combination. Garnish your sandwich with plenty of fresh lettuce and tomato to sneak in a serving of veggies.

Veggie Omelet

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, which helps rebuild your muscle tissue. Add veggies to an omelet for a dose of fiber and extra vitamins. Pair it with a slice of whole-grain toast for some carbohydrates.

Fruit Smoothie

Make yourself a fruit smoothie with skim milk or low-fat yogurt and frozen fruit. Include a scoop of protein powder for the ultimate refreshing post-workout fuel—and a thicker texture.

Cheese and Crackers

If you're craving something salty post-workout, make yourself a small plate of cheese and crackers. Choose crackers that are high in fiber and pair them with a reduced-fat cheese. You could also try adding some turkey to make mini cracker sandwiches.

Energy Bar

There are countless energy bars out there to help satisfy your body's needs after a workout. Choose one of the many flavors that taste just like dessert! For a guide to picking the best energy bars, click here.

Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are a versatile way to get in your much-needed carbohydrates. You can add proteins and fats to these snack cakes by topping them with peanut or almond butter, low-fat cottage cheese with fruit, or lunchmeat and reduced-fat cheese. Rice cakes are low in calories (usually only about 30-40 calories per cake) and fill you up fast!


Eat several servings of vegetables at once with a stir-fry. Add some chicken or shrimp for lean protein and extra staying power. If you're a vegetarian, toss in some extra-firm tofu or shelled edamame.

Pancakes and Eggs

If you make them correctly, pancakes can be a healthy source of carbohydrates. Just make sure not to load them down with calorie-laden extras like butter and syrup. Instead, top them with cinnamon or a thin layer of fruit preserves. On the side, scramble one or two eggs or egg whites for added protein.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a versatile food that you can mix with pretty much anything to make it sweet or savory. Try it mixed with fresh fruit or with tomatoes and chives for a savory dish. Pair it with a slice of whole grain toast for a carbohydrate boost.

100% Fruit Juice

Fruit juice, when made with 100% juice, is a great source of vitamins and minerals. To maximize the nutritional content of your juice, make your own at home in a juicer. Enjoy a serving of your favorite cheese on the side for some protein and fat.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has about 50 percent more protein than regular yogurt and is much lower in sugar, too. Just make sure you opt for the low-fat or fat-free variety to keep your calories in check. Mix in some mixed berries or peaches with a touch of honey, or use it to make a savory vegetable dip.

Lightened-Up Pizza

With a few simple tweaks, you can turn pizza into a sensible post-workout meal. Start with a whole-grain crust (or pita), a thin layer of tomato sauce, a small sprinkle of low-fat cheese, and load up on the veggies for your toppings. Stay away from fatty meats like sausage and pepperoni and go for lean cuts such as chicken or turkey instead. Get creative with your spices, too. Above all, make sure to keep your portions in check: One or two slices should be plenty to re-energize you after a workout.

See more fitness slideshows Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

Member Comments on this Slideshow

(scroll to end to leave a comment)


8/25/2009 7:09:39 PM

CYCLEZEN's SparkPage
I'd skip the fruit juice. It's high in sugar. By the time you drink water, who has the time and room for fruit juice.


8/25/2009 6:41:17 PM

Lots of great suggestions here. Thanks for another great article and slide show.


8/25/2009 6:32:42 PM

MZSLEEPE1's SparkPage
Great read! Yes, protein is great post workout! If I'm close to my blender I can throw together a great smoothie, EAS Vanilla Protein, Stonyfield fat free vanilla yogurt, a splash of low fat vanilla soy milk and any kind of frozen fruit I have on hand! Yum! If I'm not near a blender I try to have a turkey sandwich with a lot of veggies! There's another good article below. Sorry you'll have to copy and paste. Enjoy every moment! Be good to yourselves!


8/25/2009 6:23:56 PM

great ideas....


8/25/2009 6:19:35 PM

I normally eat beef jerky for the protein. I guess I kind of forget about the carbs sometimes.


8/25/2009 6:19:27 PM

Yum,some nice ideas I havn't thought of.


8/25/2009 6:15:07 PM

Greek yogurt is excellent! In New Mexico, Safeway carried one brand, and it was usually in the specialty foods section near the rice pasta and organic spices and soy cheese and gluten-free bread. Here in Colorado, I shop at Sprouts, which carries two or three brands of Greek yogurt. I don't have to add anything to it to have a great veggie dip, and I also like swirling a dollop into some soups, like cashew carrot and corn lemongrass.


8/25/2009 5:39:17 PM

I always have a banana, lowfat creamy peanut butter, and ff milk shake


8/25/2009 5:23:04 PM

CHUCKLES0719's SparkPage
I try to take a 12-oz. bottle of water + 12-oz. bottle Gaterade to my workout. Seems to help. Also, I previously exercised before breakfast but not any more because of SP recommendations. Seems to work for me.


8/25/2009 5:09:21 PM

My personnal favorite post workout snack is a protein shake, especially the Biggest Loser shake, as it is low in calories. I did not see this in the items listed, but I have often read that protein is a great after workout snack to have, to help muscle tissues to recover. Is this right??


8/25/2009 4:27:58 PM



8/25/2009 4:21:15 PM

CANDACE222's SparkPage
I usually work out in the evening and only have water afterwards - I didn't even realize that we should have a snack after working out. So I think this article is fantastic!!

To those of you who gave some suggestions for other snacks - many thanks. To those of you who complained that pancakes were too high in carbs and eggs too high in fat and pizza was a meal not a snack etc - then eat something else and quit whining!! :(

I'm going to choose the snacks that I would enjoy eating and customize them to fit into my eating plan.


8/25/2009 4:17:07 PM

Good to see that I've been on the right track and have been eating 8 out of the 16 options after my last workout for the day!! My favorite is the smoothie, but unfortunately even though I'm using 2 servings of fruit, 1 serving of soymilk, 1 serving of low-fat yogurt, and 1 serving whey protein powder with about 4 cubes of ice (crushed), it makes a pitcherful and I try drinking it all at once! If I don't, I think I'm cheating myself because then I would only be using half of the calories they're necessary to complete my daily requirements. Thanks for sharing.


8/25/2009 4:11:21 PM

all sound good to me.


8/25/2009 2:42:29 PM

Wow, all those foods look good! I never thought of cottage cheese as a good food for after a workout. Thanks!

Comment Pages (18 total)

x Lose 10 Pounds by June 6! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.