Do you think about what to eat after gym workouts while youre working out? Spending a little time planning your meals around your exercise is a really good idea to help your body recover and replenish your energy stores most effectively, so in this post, Im going to give you some hints and tips to eat right.
Its not just what to eat, its when to eat.
There is a window of about 20 – 60 minutes after you exercise when your body will automatically use the calories you eat for good (repair and recovery) and not bad (fat storage). It is thought that waiting 2 hours after your workout compared to eating right away means the body’s ability to refill muscle energy stores decreases by 50 percent.
Should you replenish with food or drinks?
Some experts suggest that its best to refuel directly after workout with a liquid meal that contains protein and carbohydrates (e.g. protein shakes), as liquids can be digested more readily than solid foods and thus nutrients get in to your system fast. Its also very convenient as you can take it with you and consume it straight after your work out.
Check out Holland & Barrett for a great selection.
However, if like me you enjoy eating calories (rather than drinking them!), there are plenty of protein and carbohydrate rich foods that can be prepared quickly post workout to stop the hunger. Here are some of my personal favourites:
Greek Yoghurt and Fruit
High protein natural/Greek yoghurt (try Liberte) with a handful of fresh fruit such as raspberries or blueberries and a seed/nut rich muesli or granola my favourite is Lizis Granola who has recently launched a great low sugar granola. This breakfast is refreshingly light and supplies you with protein, fibre and healthy carbs for energy
Grilled Salmon and Sweet Potato Mash
Salmon is the perfect protein packed full of nutrients including anti-inflammatory omega 3, while sweet potatoes pack in those complex carbs and help to restore glycogen levels, which get depleted after a workout.
Boiled, Poached and Scrambled Eggs
Eggs, eggs, eggs theyre a protein and carb packed little wonder! Whether you boil, poach, scramble or make them into an omelette, the great thing about eggs is that they contain only 70 calories each and pack in 6.3 grams of protein, as well as offering a great source of vitamin D. Pile some fresh avocado and tomatoes on to a piece of wholegrain toast, add a poached egg and a sprinkle of pepper and hey presto there you have it a super nutrient packed breakkie!
Wholegrain Toast with Peanut Butter & Banana
It sounds really naughty but actually its got everything your body needs the toast gives you the complex carbs & fibre, peanut butter (make sure you go for the organic/no added sugar kind) is protein rich and the banana provides more carbs as well as great source of potassium. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to stabilize blood sugar and improve brain function.
Made with chickpeas, its protein and carb rich, and really easy to make; try this 5 minute recipe. Eat it with some wholemeal pitta or fresh vegetable sticks such as carrot and celery.
Thats my list of some of my favourite food to eat after gym workouts. Its all very easy to prepare and gets those essential nutrients into your body as quickly as possible after exercise, because lets face it we all work out so we can enjoy food more. And remember, starving yourself is definitely not an option; it wont do you or your body any good! So there really is no excuse to not get on that healthy band wagon!
Enjoy exercise AND enjoy your food the two together create the perfect balance! And why not try some good mood food to keep those endorphin levels up and keep you smiling?