In this article, you will discover the best foods to eat after a workout for quick muscle recovery.
It’s natural to feel famished after a workout. Once your body burns hundreds, if not thousands, of calories, it’ll demand instant repayment in equal sums.
But avoid giving in to the temptation to offset your workout progress by eating the wrong foods. You want to eat foods that add glycogen, a type of glucose stored in muscles, and rehydrate right away.
Avoiding foods that add too much fat to the body and cause dehydration is key. Here’s a list of 9 great foods for muscle recovery.
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Best Foods for Muscle Recovery
Bananas have a reputation for being one of the most sugar-rich fruits available. But following a workout, bananas can be a godsend.
The sweetness of a banana isn’t like eating a large bowl of ice cream post-workout. The starch in bananas is converted into simple sugars that can work wonders for replenishing the amount of glycogen in your muscles.
With 14 grams of sugar available, bananas provide a quick source of good carbohydrates which brings the body the boost of energy it needs. The sugar from a banana also triggers insulin release which is important to get more amino acids into tired muscles, a major help in the recovery process.
Add bananas to a smoothie, bowl of oatmeal or simply top with toasted coconut for a quick meal.
2. Protein Shake
There is no shortage of places that offer sugary smoothies under the guise of healthy beverages. A truly healthy smoothie won’t have a calorie count higher than what you just burned during your workout.
Try smoothies with ingredients that aid in rebuilding muscle that also helps with fat digestion. Effective post-workout recovery smoothies include protein supplements like whey or pea protein that helps to heal your muscles right away.
The debate over brown vs. white rice is never-ending in the fitness community. Many athletes swear by the effectiveness of white rice in post-workout recovery when training for a competition.
But there are health benefits to both options. Weightlifters and athletes opt for white rice during a post-workout meal to get a quick glycogen and carbohydrate boost.
To them, white rice is a way to feel satisfied after a meal instead of a vehicle for weight loss. The energy from white rice gives them the fuel they need to recover to train again the next day.
But for those wanting the healthiest option to promote weight loss, brown rice should be your go-to. It’s important to combine brown rice with the right protein to make sure your hunger is satisfied after a meal.
Consider wild salmon, brown rice and dark leafy greens for dinner when choosing brown instead of white rice post-workout.
Corn is a healthy mix of fiber and protein making it a great post-workout food. The fiber aids in the digestion of fat following a meal and the proteins support muscle recovery.
But these aren’t the most important reason to choose corn following a workout. Corn, like other grains, are mostly carbs.
Eating corn after a workout is a good way to restore the body’s energy supply without adding too much sugar. Remember to skip the butter and salt with your corn so that you don’t offset its health benefits.
In addition to being rich in flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids, potatoes are one of the best foods for muscle recovery to eat after a workout. Potatoes are filled with carbs that help you quickly satisfy hunger.
Flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids all work as antioxidants in the body which can prevent diabetes and heart disease.
Quinoa is a superfood that can work as a pasta replacement in many recipes. One of its most attractive qualities is being gluten-free while still rich in protein.
It’s one of the few available plant-based foods with all 9 amino acids. Your muscles will thank you for introducing this high presence of amino acids without the added fats of meat.
Tofu is often taken for granted. It’s not a trendy new superfood like quinoa or acai, but it is one of the original soy-based meat replacements.
With high amino acid and protein content, tofu helps with post-workout recovery while making you feel full faster. The high calcium and iron content are great for both bone health and blood circulation.
Beans are a plant-based protein with a low glycemic index. This means they are slow to digest but still give off energy over time.
Eating beans after a workout will not only make you feel full faster but for a longer period of time after your meal. This means less unhealthy snacking as the day progresses.
Fish is best to eat after a workout because it’s a lean source of meat protein. Be sure to leave the skin on as it can be a great source of collagen.
Collagen is excellent for replenishing your joints and ligaments following a workout. Fish is also a great source of Omega-3s which is essential for brain health.
What to Avoid Post Workout
There are many options when it comes to foods for muscle recovery. Knowing how to eat the foods you choose is just as important as knowing which foods to eat.
Fried potatoes, for example, isn’t a healthy option for satisfying your post-workout hunger. Aim to steam or bake foods using little to no added fats when cooking.
The Bottom Line
Recovering quickly from workouts will allow you to perform better in the next workout. It’ll also eliminate the fatigue most beginners experience after they start exercising.
Eat the above foods after workouts for a quick recovery.