Anyone who consistently exercises knows the feeling of wanting to eat *everything* in sight after a workout. For me, I always crave something carb-filled or cheesy. But obviously, I know this isn’t the healthiest choice; plus, I don’t want unhealthy and heavy foods in my system after I just worked to make myself feel good. So I decided to look into the best post-workout snacks that are healthy, nutritious, and not loaded with cheese.
I found out that after a workout, your body wants to restore the energy you released so it’s completely natural to be hungry post-sweat sesh. But of course, there are some snacks that just aren’t good to eat after a workout (read: chips, cookies, leftover pizza.) Your body needs real nourishment, which is why it’s important to fill it with two things: complex carbs and protein.
Curious about some snack options you can choose? Here’s five post-workout snacks we recommend to help your body recover.
(P.S. We recommend you eat them soon after your workout for best results — prepping them in advance may even be a good idea!)
Greek yogurt is a great post-workout snack because it’s so high in protein, which will help repair and rebuild muscle. Pick a granola to pair with it that’s high in fiber, so you can get in some healthy carbs, for extra post-workout fuel. Be sure to check the labels on granola and yogurt, as they both can be high in sugar, depending on the brand — according to nutritionists, one serving of yogurt (granola included!) should contain 12 g of sugar or less.
Calling all Mediterranean food lovers! This snack is filled with protein, healthy fats, and carbs that’ll keep you going for the rest of the day. Hummus is made from chickpeas — meaning they have a good amount of protein (+ it’s vegetarian-friendly). When paired with a whole wheat pita, you’ll be getting enough protein to rebuild, and enough carbohydrates to refuel.
Newsflash: breakfast foods can be enjoyed post-workout. This snack is a good option for those who might opt for a morning workout, and need to eat breakfast afterward. You’ll see on any egg carton two eggs can have up to 13g of protein, and when paired with whole wheat or whole grain toast, you’re really getting a great serving of both carbs and protein.
This snack is great for muscle restoration. Why? Well, according to dietitians, your muscles use up their glycogen stores while working out, and nut butter is loaded with protein that will help replenish those glycogen stores. Try to get natural nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew, etc.) as those will be the least processed. Pair with apples for a low-cal carb.
If you’re looking for a way to satisfy your hunger and restore your body’s nutrients after a workout, making a smoothie is definitely a great option. With smoothies, you just have to be careful about ingredients: nutritionists warn that a lot of elements that go into smoothies can be high in sugar, carbs, and calories. You’ll want to avoid things like added sugar, juice, and too much fruit, but, with the right healthy ingredients (like kale, frozen fruit, low-sugar protein powder, and nut butter) you can blend a delicious, protein-packed smoothie in no time.
About the author
Maddie is a writer and lover of all things wellness and lifestyle. She’s been featured on doctoroz.com, The TODAY Show Digital, PureWow, The Knot, and now Playbook! When she’s not working on a story, you can find her searching for a perfectly constructed charcuterie board, laying in the sun, or at a yoga class (mostly to work off the charcuterie board).