7 Post-Workout Snacks to Jump-Start Your Recovery

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.

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1. Peanut Butter and Banana Whole-Grain Toast

post workout snacks- peanut butter banana

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

protein snacks- beef jerky

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

post workout snacks- cottage cheese and 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

post workout snack- tuna 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.

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Meagan Morris a writer specializing in all things related to health and wellness. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Yahoo Health, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and Women's Health, among others. Learn more at meaganleamorris.com.

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