You’re done with your work out and need to refuel, but what do you reach for when you want to be healthy? Here are the best post-workout foods for your best health!
Especially after a good workout, your body is in need of nutrients. Fortunately, when you focus on eating real, whole foods, you’re supplying your body with not only the macronutrients that your body needs but also a dense array of the equally essential micronutrients.
It’s best to choose a variety of foods that provide a good source of quality protein, carbohydrate, and fat. As a very general rule of thumb, the more cardiovascular or higher the volume or intensity, the more carbohydrate is needed post-workout, and the more strength/muscle building is involved, the greater the need for protein.
Below is a list of some of the best foods to eat after your workouts to nourish and support an optimally functioning body!
Good Carbohydrate Sources
Sweet Potato or Squash: Sweet potato or squash are a great source of healthy carbs, but also contain fiber and micronutrients such as carotenoids and vitamins C and B6; it’s best to add a little bit of butter or coconut oil to aid in digestion and assimilation of these nutrients.
Beets: Beets are a natural source of a good amount of carbohydrate (and sugar) but are also a great source of nutrients and increase nitric oxide in the body to boost cardiovascular endurance and health. They’re particularly high in calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.
Bananas: Bananas are a great source of carbs and sugars to help with post-workout recovery, but they’re also a great source of some electrolyte minerals, including potassium. They’re also good sources of vitamin C, fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, and biotin.
Apples or Fresh Applesauce: Apples are great for healthy carbohydrate and sugars, but also are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C and a good source of potassium.
Vegetables: Not only are vegetables also a good source of healthy carbs, but they provide a great amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber and are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Surprising to many, a lot of vegetables also contain a fair amount of protein themselves. One of the best things you can eat for supporting post-workout nutrition needs is a variety of vegetables. Some of the higher carbohydrate vegetables include potatoes, corn, peas, beets, and carrots.
Fresh Fruit: Any fresh, whole fruit is a good source of healthy carbs to boost post-workout nutrition. Some easy on-the-go options include apples, oranges, grapefruit, berries, banana, pears, or peaches.
Homemade Energy Bars: Making your own energy bars is not only a delicious post-workout snack, but provides a quality source of carbohydrate, protein, and fats that also supply a lot of nutrients to support recovery.
Good Protein Sources
Beans: Beans are flexible and can be added to almost any kind of food or snack. They provide a ton of natural plant-based protein. Mix them with brown rice and you get everything you need!
Good Fat Sources
Avocado (Guacamole): Not only a great fat source, avocados also provide potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and fiber.
Coconut Oil: This oil is a great source of anti-inflammatory fats to heal and recover the body post-exercise.
Raw Nuts, Seeds & Nut/Seed Butters: Nuts are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats, but also provide minerals and are a convenient on-the-go option to be eaten with apples, banana, celery, or on a sandwich.
Also, don’t forget the importance of post-workout hydration by making sure to drink a minimum of 1–2 cups water an hour post workout. Beyond water, some great beverage choices include fresh coconut water or milk, lemon or fruit-infused water, or herbal tea.