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The foods that you eat post workout have a major impact on your muscle gain, fat loss, and your metabolism, and you should be careful to pick the right foods that can really benefit you. You need a balanced meal that has a sufficient amount of carbs, protein and fat, and most experts believe that you should eat within 30-45 minutes after working out maximum. Even if you manage to just grab a protein bar, it is essential that you eat no later than 30 to 45 minutes after exercising, but after that you should follow it up with a larger meal. Below are 7 of the best foods to eat after exercising that you should think about adding to your regular post workout meals.
Whey protein can be found in protein bars and powders, and it is one of the best post workout foods to eat and is often recommended by nutritionists. Smoothies are a great way to get a quick dose of whey protein after a workout and they are a fast and convenient meal that you can make before the 45 minute recommended time period. The best brands of whey protein for post workout meals are organic and don't have extra additives, sugar or sugar substitutes. Whey protein helps you get the recommended 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight that is recommended when you perform regular resistance training, but if you exercise less often you don't need as much whey protein.
Turkey is a low fat excellent source of protein that makes a great post workout food. Combining turkey with veggies and fruit can be a great post workout meal, and you can even add healthy carb sources in moderation like brown rice or quinoa for a more complete meal. Turkey is a great source for the amino acids that your body needs to recovery and build muscle following a workout. Try to find organic varieties of turkey, and turkey jerky is another option that offers a healthier and lower fat alternative to pork or beef jerky. Bring some turkey jerky to the gym along with a piece of fruit or two and it can hold you over until you're able to cook or get a full meal at a restaurant.
Greek yogurt has almost twice the protein as regular yogurt, and it is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It's another quick food that can hold you over until you get a full meal, and it has the protein that your muscles are craving right after a strenuous workout. It's a good idea to mix Greek yogurt with fruit to get some carbs and energy. The micronutrients in Greek yogurt have also been shown to help your body fight soreness, and it also is a good source of carbohydrates. Stick to plain Greek yogurt and try to avoid the varieties that add a ton of sugar. A natural sweetener like honey can be a good source of carbohydrates after your workout but only use it in moderation.
Almonds are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat and protein, and they are also relatively high in calories and portable which makes them the perfect post workout food. Almonds can be combined with whey protein for a more complete post workout snack. One serving of almonds has about 160 calories and 6 grams of protein, and they also provide 6 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals that can help your body recovery more quickly such as biotin, vitamin B2, phosphorus, vitamin E and more. Also most of the fat in almonds is health mono unsaturated fat which improves heart health.
We would rarely recommend chocolate milk on this blog because of the high sugar content, but it is actually a great post workout food, and it can be even better if you make your own chocolate milk rather than buying the store brands which are often loaded with sugar. By using stevia or honey and organic chocolate syrup or cocoa and mixing it with milk, you can get the great health benefits of drinking chocolate milk after your workout. Chocolate milk is recommended by many nutritionists post workout because it is a great source of protein, carbs, and healthy fat, but avoid any brands that add high fructose corn syrup or use non-organic milk.
Regular or low fat cottage cheese can be one of the best post workout foods as it is a great source of protein and vitamins and minerals. If you are worried about dairy fat it is better to consume the low fat varieties, especially if you eat it on a regular basis, but it is one of the quickest and most convenient post workout foods. One cup of cottage cheese has 25 grams of protein and 222 calories, but keep in mind that it is high in sodium. Combining cottage cheese with fruit is a great way to get a quick serving of carbs and protein and fat, and it can keep your muscles and body nourished until you're able to eat a larger meal after working out.
The incredible edible egg is one of the easiest and fastest post workout foods to make and is a great option whenever you're in a bind and can't cook right away. Hard boiled eggs are easy to make and have on hand for a quick snack after a workout, and they are a great source of protein at 6 grams per egg. You don't have to worry about the cholesterol content of eggs as there is no proven link between dietary cholesterol from organic sources and blood cholesterol. Eggs are relatively low in carbohydrates and healthy fat so try to combine them with other good sources of carbohydrates like fruit, quinoa, oatmeal and vegetables. Also try to only stick to free range organic eggs which are proven to have a higher ratio of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.