7 Post-Workout Snacks to Jump-Start Your Recovery
Wipe that sweat from your brow, because you just crushed your workout — and now you’re craving a healthy snack to help you refuel. So what’s the best post-workout snack?
First things first: Keep in mind you don’t always need a post-workout snack. If your workout was a 20-minute walk at a moderate pace, for example, you probably don’t need to refuel. But after a high-intensity workout or an hour-long endurance workout, you may need a small snack to help you recover.
After an intense workout session, a good post-exercise snack should have protein (for muscle recovery) and carbohydrates (to help replenish the glycogen you burned during your session). Here are a few healthy post-workout snack ideas to try.
1. Peanut Butter and Banana Whole-Grain Toast
This snack has unrefined carbs from the banana, a little protein from the peanut butter, plus carbs and fiber from whole-grain bread. Bonus: It’ll make you feel like a kid again. Just be sure to keep your portion size in check — use one slice of whole-grain toast (or Ezekiel bread made with sprouted grains), half a banana, and a tablespoon of PB.
2. Greek Yogurt and Berries
There’s a reason Greek yogurt consistently makes it onto healthy snack lists. It offers plenty of healthy protein and carbs and only 124 calories per 6-ounce container. Skip the flavored versions, which are often loaded with added sugar; opt for plain instead, and add a handful of strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries for a bit of sweetness, carbohydrates, and a boost of nutrients.
3. Beef Jerky and Fruit
Beef jerky might not seem like an obvious post-workout snack, but the 9.4 grams of protein in each ounce of jerky makes this snack a no-brainer. Look for brands made from organic or grass-fed beef, and add a piece of fresh fruit for carbohydrates.
4. Chocolate Milk
Instead of reaching for a neon sports drink after your workout, consider this childhood fave — it provides carbohydrates and protein, and helps replenish fluids and sodium. Research suggests chocolate milk is a good option for post-workout recovery — though researchers note that future studies “should examine the optimal amount, timing, and frequency of ingestion of chocolate milk on post-exercise recovery measures including performance, indices of muscle damage, and muscle glycogen resynthesis.”
5. Cottage Cheese and Chopped Fruit
With 22 grams of protein and 10 grams of carbohydrates, a cup of cottage cheese is a smart post-workout snack if you need protein. (Cottage cheese also contains a lot of water, so it can help you rehydrate.) Mix in a bit of chopped fruit for a well-rounded snack.
6. Protein Bar
Want something simple that you can pack in your gym bag? Grab a protein bar — just read the ingredients and nutrition facts label carefully, because some protein bars are basically just dressed-up candy bars. One to try: The Simply Protein Lemon Crispy Bar is sweetened with stevia and glycerin (a sugar alcohol) and contains just 150 calories and 3 grams of sugar per bar, along with 15 grams of protein.
7. Tuna and Whole-Grain Crackers
Canned tuna and crackers are relatively easy to stash in your gym bag for a simple post-workout snack. A 4-ounce serving of tuna contains around 22 grams of protein along with important nutrients. Pair it with whole-grain crackers to add healthy carbs.