Experts agree after a hard workout the most important thing to do is the opposite of what you’ve been taught: eat! Eating the right foods immediately after a workout will help your body repair muscles and recover more quickly.
With so much opposing information on what to eat before or after a workout, take comfort in knowing most experts agree that eating the right foods immediately after an intense workout will not only help your body recover faster by offering the nutrition it needs to repair muscles, but will offer you a better nutritional benefit with whole foods instead of shakes or protein bars.
Protein is high on the list of must-haves immediately after a workout. Studies show that when lean protein is consumed just after a workout, the body uses and benefits from that fuel source more than if eaten even just an hour later. Along with protein, sports nutritionists recommend a healthy carbohydrate as well, avoiding fats as they can interfere with immediate muscle repair.
After weighing the options, the SheKnows.com test kitchen unanimously selected fat-free Greek yogurt as our protein of choice. From there, we were split on sweet or savory.
For the sweet, we added fresh blueberries, local honey and a small amount of toasted coconut on top, which we learned only provides trace amounts of fat — not enough to skew our muscle repair stats. For savory, we turned to a cumin-scented chicken lettuce wrap with raisins and apples.
Greek yogurt power snack recipe
- 2 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon local honey
- 1 tablespoon toasted coconut
- In a small bowl add yogurt. Top with honey, blueberries and toasted coconut. Serve cold.
Chicken salad lettuce wrap recipe
- 2 ounces poached chicken breast, shredded
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh apple
- Kosher salt to taste
- 2 large pieces broad-leaf lettuce
- In a small bowl, combine chicken, yogurt, cumin, raisins and apples. Season with salt to taste.
- Divide chicken salad evenly between lettuce pieces; roll burrito style or fold taco style. Serve cold.