Ever wonder what happens to our body when we workout? Basically, exercising is the process of breaking down your muscle tissue and letting it repair so it becomes thicker and stronger. Cool right?! The repairing stage puts your body in an anabolic state, which requires nutrients.
In order to get the most out of exercising, a balanced diet is essential, especially what you eat AFTER working out. So exactly what do you eat after working out? Here are 20 items to help you get started.
1. Beat Muscle Soreness With Blueberries
Top of my list is my favourite fruit, blueberry, Not only are blueberries an excellent source of antioxidant (Anti-AGING girls!), they also contain phytochemicals (plants chemicals) that protect us from muscle soreness and inflammation by speeding up muscle recovery after strenuous exercise.
2. Protein Packed Turkey Breast
After an intense workout, having protein is essential to restore damaged tissue, as protein is needed to help store carbohydrate and build new muscles. A high-quality protein choice is turkey breast and it’s best to have it lean, skinless, grilled or boiled.
3. Orange Juice
Did you know vitamin C help prevent upper respiratory infection? Not only is orange a great source of that, the natural sugar in orange is a good refueling source and drinking the juice is a quick way to replenish key nutrients and vitamins after an intense workout.
Tip: For lower intense workout, dilute orange juice with water to lower the sugar content.
4. Egg-actly Needed To Build Muscle
Eggs are loaded with nutrients, cholesterol (good ones!), and of course, protein. They are highly nutritious- essential amino acids to repair damage tissues, and with so many different ways of preparing them- scramble, add into a shake, or bake, you will never run out of options.
5. Powerful Banana
There’s no fruit as powerful as this. Our blood sugar and glycogen level depletes after a workout and our body requires fast-digesting food to restore them. Banana is your best bet, packed load with potassium, carbohydrates, sugars and many more!
6. Tuna as an Ideal Low-Calories Snack
Tuna is perfect for those who are trying to lose weight and is a great substitute for those who don’t eat meat. Excellent source of protein, it has lower calories due to the absence of carbohydrates. Best to eat it with crackers or whole wheat bread.
7. Starchy Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is a good choice for carbohydrate option and starchy vegetables provide antioxidant as well. Furthermore, sweet potato has been linked to weight loss! Switch your carbohydrate for a change and see how it goes.
8. Homemade Sports Drink With Honey
Honey is an excellent source of energy burst. Just mix it with water and a squeeze of lemon and viola! A simple sports drink is ready!
9. Coconut water For Hydration
Instead of grabbing a bottle of isotonic drink the next time, get coconut water. The amount of sugar and colouring (yes, colouring!) an isotonic drink contains might not be good. Coconut water is a natural source of liquid containing vitamins, electrolytes, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants and water. Be sure to choose the ones without added preservatives or sugars!
10. Super Seed: Chia seed
It’s a super food. Not convincing enough? This tiny seed contains all eight essential amino acids, loaded with omega-3 fats, protein, antioxidant, and many more! Add in a scoop or two into your drink or to your baking. Although it’s a little pricy, everything becomes healthier with chia seeds.
11. Nutty Peanut Butter
One tablespoon of peanut butter gives a healthy dose of protein and is loaded with monounsaturated fat, which helps to prevent heart disease and less likely to be stored as fat in the body. Spread it on rice cakes, celery, or if you’re like me, eat it straight from the spoon.
*Alternatively, you may use almond butter.
12. Superfood: Quinoa
Yet another super food on this list, quinoa has a high amount of amino acids, iron and vitamin, which can’t be found in rice. An ideal source of fiber but people with digestive problems should keep quinoa to minimal.
Hummus is rich in iron, vitamin C, protein and carbohydrates. Dip it with crackers or vegetable sticks as a healthy snack.
14. Dried Fruits & Nuts
Dried fruits and nuts are enriched with protein, vitamin K, vitamin A, and calcium. Since they contain simple carbohydrates as well, they can be easily digested and replenish the body with glycogen at a faster rate.
Avocado is rich in fat, the good fat needed for muscle repair and monounsaturated fat helps to heal muscles and joints. Additionally, vitamin B jump-starts your metabolism by metabolizing healthy carbohydrates and proteins.
16. Sugary Cereal
Shocking? Most cereal contains sugar and the surge of insulin is guaranteed to restore your body’s glycogen level quickly.
17. Spinach for Muscle Growth
Popeye got stronger after eating a can of spinach so why not? Joke aside; spinach contains phytoecdysteroids (a natural plant steroid). Studies have shown that this plant steroid increases muscle growth by 20%! It contains twice the amount of iron as compare to other plants, thus, acting as a good substitute for people who don’t eat meat.
18. Indulging Chocolate Milk
Do you know that chocolate milk is one the best kept secret for muscle recovery? Something about the right ratio of protein to carbohydrate can restore the lost glycogen and repair muscle tissue. If you are weight conscious, consider a low-fat option.
19. Rebuild Energy with Greek yogurt
We all know protein is key to repair the damaged muscle after a workout and Greek yogurt is packed with it. Low in sugar as well, this is a quick ideal snack to rebuild energy, just top it up with fruits, nuts or cereal.
20. Green Tea
I love green tea too much that I have at least three cups a day. Not only is green tea a quick energy pick-me-up, it also contains anti-oxidant that can help to metabolize fat and fight exercise-induced free radical, which prevent inflammation and muscle soreness.
Everyone needs to refuel or recover with a post-workout meal or snack and the ideal time to nourish your body is within 30 minutes to two hours after exercising. So don’t dilly-dally for too long.
There are 20 different choices, find one that work best for you.
*Featured image: Source