Post-workout snacks and meal ideas are often a source of much debate and, as with many things that we come across in relation to our nutrition, this is another area that can often flummox many people.
We’ve touched on this subject in previous articles over the last couple of years in nutrition myths columns that we’ve written but here we’ll give you a little more to go off along with some simple meal ideas that you can implement into your post-workout set up.
These meal ideas are not necessarily a comprehensive list, as there aren’t enough column inches for that, but it should give you some good ideas to work off.
A post-workout meal or snack that contains the correct nutrients helps to facilitate the replenishment of depleted energy stores used up during exercise.
A good mixture of carbs, fats and protein in your post-workout meal or snack will help to restore depleted glycogen stores, enhance your recovery and reduce the breakdown of muscle whilst increasing muscle protein synthesis.
The recommended amounts of protein consumption post-exercise is 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) whilst carbohydrate consumption is 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per pound (1.1–1.5 grams/kg) of body weight within 30 minutes after the end of your training.
This in turn results in proper glycogen resynthesis. This is a ratio of roughly 1:3.
Fat slows down the absorption of nutrients so keep your fat intake relatively small post-workout, though rest assured it will not affect the overall benefits in the long or short term.
Whilst protein powders/shakes are often the immediate go-to due to having been found to have the highest absorption rates post-workout, other good protein sources are chicken, salmon, tuna, cottage cheese, greek yoghurt and eggs.
Effective carbohydrate sources are sweet/potatoes, rice, pasta, rice cakes, oats, leafy greens, pineapple, bananas, kiwi fruit and quinoa.
Good sources of fats are avocado, nut butters and nuts although it’s important to keep these low, as said earlier in this column for the reason described above.
Post-workout/exercise meal ideas include the following simple recipes:
Animal or plant-based protein shake, chicken and vegetables, salmon with sweet potato, cottage cheese jacket potato, avocado on toast with eggs, a berries, protein powder, greek
Yoghurt and granola bowl and turkey steak with pasta salad.
Whichever way you choose to consume a post-workout meal or snack bear in mind the above measurements for the best results.
One final point is to remember to replenish lost fluids by drinking water.
So many of us devalue the benefits of replenishing water, but it will go a long way to aiding your recovery and helping you prepare for your next session.
The goal of water consumption during exercise is to reduce the loss in body weight (>0.2% of body weight), so a guideline of 1.5 litres per kilo of body weight lost is necessary for optimal recovery.