Hey LC.com readers, it’s Shira, your resident dietitian-nutritionist! Since the New Year is often synonymous with reigniting healthy routines, I thought I’d offer some advice for refueling post-workout. Whatever exercise you’re doing (hot yoga, resistance training, barre classes, dance cardio or endurance running), you want to make sure you’re eating foods that will help repair muscle fibers and replenish glycogen stores (your muscles’ main energy source), which are depleted after strenuous activity. You do this with ample, high-quality protein, combined with a carbohydrate source that the body converts quickly into energy.
For best results, these snacks should be eaten 15-30 minutes after your workout, so ideally it’s portable and not too complicated! Below are my picks for the best foods you should be eating with each workout…
For hot yoga…
Have maple water + 1/4 cup roasted and salted nuts.
Although coconut water seems to get all the attention these days, maple water is serving up some healthy competition. I tried the Canadian beverage back in August, and I’ve been fairly obsessed ever since! With half the sugar of coconut water (only 4g), and nutrients like manganese, iron and calcium, maple water makes for an A+ option for replenishing fluids after a sweaty yoga session. The protein and sodium from the salted nuts help restore fluid balance and assist muscle repair.
For resistance training, pilates or a barre class…
Have hard-boiled eggs and 1 date.
Eggs are one of the richest sources of leucine, which is responsible for triggering protein synthesis in muscle, while the healthy sugars from the date delivers a speedy energy boost. Do yourself a favor and hard boil a dozen eggs Sunday evening, so you have them ready to go Monday morning.
For a dance cardio class…
Have an apple and 2 tablespoons of nut butter.
Vitamin C-rich apples help support the healthy cartilage needed for joint shock-absorption during all those flying attitudes, while fructose helps restore glycogen stores. If you’re concerned about how to store this snack, look no further. Lunchbox adaptors convert canning jars into vertical bento boxes, making it easier to transport condiments like nut butter, without fear of soggy ingredients (or almond butter stained sports bras).
For long distance running and endurance sports…
Have avocado toast on whole grain raisin bread.
Avocado toast combo provides the perfect mix of complex carbs (whole grain bread), simple carbs (raisins) and healthy fats (avocado). When combined, these will help keep blood sugar in check after an intense workout. And the omega-fatty acid rich avocados are also great in terms of counteracting oxidative damage caused by demanding physical activity.
Do you have a favorite post-sweat snack?