It’s true that ‘you are what you eat’, but in body building, it might be even more accurate. What you eat after hitting the gym is the most crucial meal you’ve had all day. Why? Because after exercise your body needs specific nutrients to repair muscles and stabilize sugar. Good healthy eating can improve your recovery while reviving your metabolism to keep you active all day. A fitness fanatic should follow these basic tenets for a workout:
- 5-6 meals per day with a gap of few hours
- Lean protein consumption to build and repair muscles
- Complex carbohydrates to keep your body energized
- Dietary fats (a limited quantity) to refuel body and stimulate hormone production
As simple as they seem, these rules are hard to keep up with, especially when you have to go through the trouble of deciding which foods to consume. We have enlisted 8 post-workout meals to ease your fitness grind. These meals will keep you fit, charged and ready for action!
Chicken with Mixed Vegetables
A nutrient dense dish like chicken with mixed vegetables will help your body recover after a heavy-duty workout. Chicken cooked in the best possible way (i.e either baked or grilled with a touch of olive oil) is enriched with lean protein and carbohydrates to keep you full without making you feel overly bloated. A portion of steamed or grilled veggies is perfect to cut the richness of the meat. Being a fitness enthusiast does not mean you have to deprive yourself of well-tasting foods. A platter of seasoned chicken with crunchy mixed veggies will not only be healthy, but will also satisfy your palate.
If you want quick protein intake, there’s nothing better than a simple protein shake. The main ingredient is protein powder, which is available at any food store in different quantities and prices. Sites like FreebiesDip.com list free protein powder samples with a choice of whey or vegan powder. You can mix fruits, chocolate, peanut butter, honey etc, in the shake to enhance the flavor. Make things more attractive by adding avocado slices to boost your joint activity. Protein shakes are easy to digest and make you feel fuller for long.
Wholegrain sandwich wraps are a popular go-to after a daytime workout. This wholesome goodness is loaded with carbohydrates and can be stuffed with meats like turkey or chicken to refuel your body. Wraps are easy to carry around, so you can eat them while heading to work or college. If you’re more of a traditional sandwich lover, why not try out a freezer-friendly breakfast sandwich? They are light and low-fat foods that can be refrigerated for a couple of days. Breakfast sandwiches are a healthy substitution to your favorite fast-food guilty pleasure.
Eggs with Veggies
Eggs are versatile food for any time of the day. Packed with essential amino-acids, they can be served in any way poached, hard boiled, scrambled, sunny side up or over easy. However, if you get bored of plain egg dishes, scramble them up with a cup of chopped mixed veggies (carrots, corns, zucchini, bell peppers etc). Fiber-rich vegetables will give a crunchy texture to your mainstream eggs and increase the nutrient density.
Chocolate Muscle Milk
Chocolate muscle milk is sure to curb your sugar cravings, but the store-bought version is uncontrollably high on sugar. It is better to make homemade chocolate muscle milk to save some money. It is the latest craze in post-workout snacks, because it contains carbs and proteins for muscle recovery, water content to replace fluids lost as sweat, calcium, sodium and sugar, all in one glass!
Greek Yogurt with Fruits
Greek yogurt paired with fruits is the ultimate energy booster. Protein in Greek yogurt is triple the amount of that in regular yogurt. It can be enjoyed with nuts (limited amount as they are high in fat and take longer to digest), fruits and whole-wheat cereal. Fruits marry perfectly with the creaminess of Greek yogurt. Oranges deliver carbs, immune-boosting vitamin C and hydration whereas berries pack micronutrients to reduce muscle soreness.
Aside from usual proteins, salmon has bioactive peptides, small protein molecules and Omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation, regulate insulin levels and give joint support. For a delicious post-workout meal, turn a baked salmon (fresh fish is preferable) into a salad with a little drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, topped with spinach and avocado.
Sweet Potato Hash
Sweet potatoes are loaded with complex carbohydrates to restore glycogen levels which drain out after an exercise. They digest slowly to keep the energy levels high enough to feed the muscles. Make a gourmet-style hash using diced sweet potatoes, apples, cinnamon, salt and pepper. You can even add chicken bits tossed in a pan with olive oil to have a party in your mouth.