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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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