Top 10 Post Workout Snacks That Fitness Experts Swear By!Dr. Surya Bhagwati
Yes, breakfast might be important to most of us, but as any dietician with a background in Ayurveda will tell you – it’s not the most important meal of the day. If you‘re pumping iron or subjecting yourself to a gruelling gym routine, your post-workout snacks are just as important. After all, this is what gives you much-needed nutrition to refuel, repair and grow muscle protein.
We asked a whole lot of fitness experts, fitness influencers, and health coaches what they use to fuel up after workouts and compiled some of the top choices. It should come as no surprise, but ready-made protein bars don’t feature on the list at all. Here’s why protein bars don’t cut it and what you really need from post-workout snacks.
What To Look For In The Perfect Post Workout Snack?
Most of us tend to focus exclusively on protein, but this isn’t the only nutrient that your body needs after a workout. Protein bars also don’t make the cut because most are loaded with sugar. After a heavy workout, glycogen stores in the body are largely depleted and muscle protein is also broken down or damaged. Your snack should therefore help replenish glycogen stores and repair or regrown muscle protein. This is why, the ideal post-workout snack gives you the optimal balance of complex carbs, protein, and fats, helping satisfy hunger, refuelling your body, and aiding recovery.
Top 10 Post Workout Snacks:
Here are the top picks from all the responses that we received from leading fitness experts.
1. Turmeric Smoothie
We’re in love with everything Ayurveda, so haldi is obviously one of our favorite culinary herbs. As an Ayurvedic herb it is also highly therapeutic and the perfect choice after a workout. After a grueling workout, there is a buildup of lactic acid and an increase in inflammation in the body. A turmeric smoothie is the perfect post workout snack as turmeric reduces inflammation and promotes healing, speeding up post workout recovery. Other ingredients in a turmeric smoothie like dairy milk or almond milk, and fresh fruits will give you some high-quality carbs, electrolytes, and other essential nutrients.
2. Dates And Sunflower Seeds
Dates are one of the cheapest and most popular dry fruits in India, popularly referred to as khajur. They make for a good post-workout snack because of their high potassium content, which revitalizes the body and also helps eliminate any excess salt and water. When you combine dates with roasted sunflower seeds, you also give yourself a healthy dose of protein, not to mention a delightful crunch! This blend of nutrients is perfect for replenishing your body.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Often regarded as the poor man’s snack, sweet potatoes are an overlooked source of nutrition, especially after a session at the gym. Just one medium-sized sweet potato gives you about 25 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. At the same time, it contains just 100 calories. They are also nutrient-dense, giving you a good amount of vitamins B6, C, and D, as well as minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium all of which help in post-workout recovery and muscle growth.
4. Homemade Trail Mix
Trail mix is often sold as a healthy snack, especially in the United States, but these pre-packaged varieties usually include candy and chocolates that are loaded with sugar. Instead of buying overpriced trail mix, you can make your own mix with a blend of nuts, seeds, and dry fruits that are easily available in India. Good choices include almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, and pistas, along with raisins, dates, dried cranberries, and so on. A blend of nuts will give you a good amount of protein, healthy omega-3 fats, and fiber, while dry fruits will give you carbs to replenish glycogen stores, as well as other essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium.
5. Fruity Dahi
Fruit flavored yogurt may be trendy, but you’d be better off making your own dahi fruit bowl. You can use fresh dahi or low-fat varieties if you choose. Dahi is nutrient dense, containing just the right amount of protein and amino acids that your body needs after a workout to repair and build muscle. The addition of fruits like berries will give you the supply of carbs that are needed to refuel and energize you.
6. Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie
Bananas have long been a staple food in the Indian diet and it’s also a great choice for post-workout replenishment. Combine it with peanut butter and you have the perfect post-workout snack. Bananas are low in calories but are a rich source of electrolytes like potassium that are depleted with exercise and it also gives you adequate carbs for energy. Peanut butter on the other hand is rich in protein and healthy fats that are great for muscle growth and recovery. As with any smoothie, you can use any type of milk you choose and you can also add protein powder if you need.
7. Whole Wheat Roti With Tuna
This is one of the top choices among fitness instructors who are inclined towards bodybuilding and have high protein requirements. Fatty fish like tuna and salmon give you plenty of protein and healthy omega-3 fats, as well as calcium, B vitamins, potassium, zinc, and magnesium, among other nutrients. When combined with whole wheat protein, you don’t just get protein and fat, but also some much-needed complex carb and fiber to power your post workout recovery. Keep in mind that it would be best to use lemon juice, olive oil, or butter as a spread, but avoid mixing curd with fish.
8. Cottage Cheese Avocado Toast
This is one of the yummiest and healthiest post workout snacks, but it can burn quite a hole in your pocket. However, for some fitness buffs, it’s worth the cost. Cottage cheese or paneer is one of the healthiest dairy products, giving you plenty of easily digestible protein and essential nutrients like calcium. Avocados may be pricey, but they are one of the best vegetarian sources of healthy fat and will also add to your healthy carb intake, providing you with other nutrients like potassium and vitamins C and B6.
9. Apple With Peanut Butter
If you don’t have the time to make a banana peanut butter smoothie, you can simply have a few slices of apple with peanut butter as a dip. Like almost every other fruit, apples are a good source of complex carbs and they are also rich in dietary fiber like pectin, as well as a wide range of vitamins and minerals. At the same time, the peanut butter dip will provide you with the protein and fats that your muscle need after a workout. For added benefits, try making your own peanut butter at home.
10. Grapes Or Melons
While it should be clear that almost all fruits work well as post-workout snacks, grapes and melons are particularly good choices if you don’t have high protein requirements, but need to rehydrate and refuel. Both grapes and melons have high water content and are a rich source of electrolytes that can help to maintain your body’s fluid balance and muscle function. For added convenience, you can precut your melon and keep the mix of grapes and melon chunks ready in a Zip-Lock bag.
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