07 Feb The power of post-workout meals
Which nutrients are key to post-workout meals?
Protein is essential for muscle recovery. During exercise muscle fibers can become damaged. Protein is necessary to repair and rebuild those fibers. It plays a fundamental role in muscle mass gain and it has satiating power. It’s important to include 20 to 30 grams of protein in your post-workout meals or snacks. Some protein rich options are: lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, dairy products, etc.
Carbohydrates are important for replenishing glycogen stores in the muscles, which are depleted during exercise. Glycogen is the stored form of glucose and it is the primary energy source for the muscles during intense physical activity. Adding some carbohydrates after exercise helps to restore glycogen levels. This also promotes recovery. The amount of carbohydrate to include in the post-workout depends on your overall diet, goals and the type and duration of physical activity. Some good options are boiled potato, rice or fruit.
The ratio of protein to carbohydrate will depend on the type of training, it can vary from 1:1 to 1:3 (protein:carbohydrate).
In addition, it is important to stay hydrated before, during and after a workout. During training there is a considerable loss of water through sweating. That is why it is specially indicated to drink water or electrolyte-rich fluids.
Examples of post-workout meals
- Grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables and roasted potatoes.
- Plain yogurt with fresh fruit and a handful of nuts. You can also use protein yogurt or cottage cheese.
- Omelette, scrambled or hard-boiled eggs with toast. Feel free to add some vegetables such as mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus or spinach. For some extra protein you can add ham, cheese, shrimps or hummus.
- Tuna or chicken sandwich. Avoid refined breads that contain added sugars. Instead, choose a whole grain bread and a source of lean protein.
- A protein smoothie made with a scoop of whey or plant-based protein powder, a cup of milk and some fruit.
Contact a registered dietitian if you would like further advice or to evaluate your need for supplements.
In conclusion, a good post-workout meal can help support optimal recovery and performance. However, don’t forget that what you eat throughout the day is also relevant. Track your macros and calories to make sure you meet your recommended daily intakes.
With LogMeal APP, you can digitally monitor your diet by taking pictures of your meals. It will store all registered food intakes including their nutritional information.