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Best Post-Workout Foods
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Best Post-Workout Foods
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Best Post-Workout Foods

Seven Superfoods You Should Be Eating Right After Your Workout

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If you really want to see your gains in full effect, you’re going to have to be mindful of what you’re eating. Here’s why: Lifting causes beneficial muscular and structural damage. While “beneficial” and “damage” in the same sentence may seem a little wonky, the truth is that the small tears that occur in your muscle fibers during exercise are nothing to worry about. In fact, they're totally necessary. That, friends, is where what you eat and post-workout protein consumption comes into play.

Protein is what helps the muscles and tissues rebuild and repair themselves after post-workout. According to the IOM Food and Energy Board, 10 to 35 percent of daily energy intake should be made of protein. You should be aiming to down a quality meal after a sweat session or a snack, or shake that totes a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4:1.

“After a good workout, it’s all about the protein to support muscle synthesis,” says Jim White RDN. “The right protein-rich options contain the essential amino acids necessary to support muscle metabolism. Carbohydrates are also important to promote glycogen storage.”

Ready to fuel smarter? Take a look at these seven perfect post-workout eats:

Protein Shake

Granted, there are a bazillion different ways to make a protein shake or post-workout smoothie. However, if you’re looking to achieve the ideal concoction, Isabel Smith, RD, CDN, suggests one scoop or serving of natural flavored organic/non-GMO whey or vegan protein with a half-cup of fruit or one small piece of fruit, a handful greens like spinach or romaine, and unsweetened almond milk. “It’s simple and can get the job done,” she says.

We Recommend

Naked Whey

You don’t have to carefully comb through the ingredients here, whey protein is the only ingredient in Naked, The brand promises that this protein comes from cows on a 100 percent grass-fed diet. There’s no additives, flavorings, sweeteners or coloring, just 25 grams of non-GMO protein.
$84.99 at

Hard Boiled Eggs and Bread?

Eggs are every weightlifters BFF, considering that each one packs a protein punch of six grams. “Eggs provide a source of high-quality protein for your muscles to use to start the healing and rebuilding process post-workout,” says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CSCS, owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness.And yes, bread is not bad.?In fact, she suggests you eat the two together as a balanced protein-carb post-workout meal. “A pita or a slice or two of bread will give you easily digestible carbohydrates to refill the muscle fuel that you used during your workout. The carbs also stimulate insulin release, a growth hormone that helps your body better utilize protein to rebuild your muscles.”


Oatmeal is magical for a number of reasons. Not only is it super filling and easy to make, but it can also be the your secret to a longer life. Eating 33 grams of whole grains daily -- equivalent to a bowl of oatmeal -- could cut your risk of premature death by 9 percent compared to those who barely ate whole grains at all, according research from Harvard University. ?

“It’s a great carbohydrate source to eat after a workout as it contains essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber which can keep your hunger at bay later in the day,” says White. “It can also help in refueling your depleted glycogen levels.”

We Recommend

Nature’s Path Prime Organic Oatmeal

Oats have the highest amount of soluble fiber compared to other grains, which helps lower cholesterol. Soluble sugar, which you’ll find more of in steel cut oats over those instant packs, and releases its sugar more slowly into the bloodstream, giving you more energy throughout the day.
$3.89 at

Chocolate Milk

For the times when you just can’t scarf down eats right away, chocolate milk can be your ideal post-workout treat. “Research has found that chocolate milk contains the ideal carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4:1,” says Rumsey. A single cup of chocolate milk can offer a solid eight grams of protein. If that’s not enough of a reason for you to grab a cold glass of goodness, upping your intake of dairy products including milk can improve?your bone health.

The Right Protein Bar

When you’re on the move, a protein bar can give you life. Or it can also be your biggest enemy, if you choose the wrong one. Remember that less is more when you’re reading the label. The more ingredients on the label, the more likely it is to include unhealthy additives that make your protein bar a fat bomb. If you’re looking to drop weight or build muscle, play special attention to how many calories are in the bar and how many carbs (more than 30 grams may be too much if you’re trimming fat).

We Recommend

Rise Honey Almond Bars

Rise Honey Almond Bars carry 20 grams of both protein and carbs, but they’re made of only three ingredients: honey, almonds, and whey protein. Toss them in your gym bag and?in your desk drawer and you've got recovery on the go.
$20.99 at

Milk and Banana Combo

If chocolate’s not your thing, that’s just fine. Snag eight ounces of regular milk and pair that with half of a banana. This will give you a similar ratio of 4:1 carbohydrate to protein, says Rumsey. Plus, the potassium in bananas is great for better circulation, which can translate into you bringing your A-game to the bedroom (as well as your bench press).

Sweet Potato with Cottage Cheese

Sweet potatoes are a high octane fuel for your body after a hard earned workout, says White. Plus, they contain good levels of vitamin b which help release energy from food, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, and four grams of fiber. Top that with cottage cheese (25 grams of protein in one cup!), and you’re crushin’ the game.