Variety is the spice of life, and it’s particularly important when it comes to your diet. Not only does a change introduce new tastes and textures into your life, it also mixes up the vitamins and other nutrients you’re getting. Choosing the right snack to refuel with after a workout can be tricky, so while you may have a few firm favourites already, trying adding one of our suggestions into the mix.
What’s in the right post-workout snack?
You need a balance of carbs to restore your energy, protein to repair and develop your muscles – and maybe even a little fat to give you more options to choose from. A carbs:protein ratio of 3:1 is suitable for most standard workouts. If you’ve been sweating a lot, a salty snack can also help to replace lost electrolytes.
Portion size is also important! Munching down on 3,000 calories of your favourite high-protein ice cream may sound appealing, but it’s a one-way ticket to gaining unwanted weight – and indigestion. The ideal number of calories you need will depend on your diet throughout the rest of day as well as your body type, metabolism and the exercise you’re doing.
Try to eat your snack within 45 minutes of finishing your workout, as many experts agree this is when your body is best able to repair muscle and replenish glycogen (stored energy). Always be sure to get enough water down you, too.
Some tasty inspiration
We’ve chosen some of our favourite snacks that work well on the go – for example, when you’re enjoying a post-workout coffee or sitting on the bus back from your weekend fitness class.
- Banana, berry, greek yoghurt and turmeric smoothie (which could help to reduce inflammation).
- Snack-sized salmon, cottage cheese and lemon wrap with your favourite herbs (dill or coriander work well). Perhaps not one to eat on the bus home, though!
- A small pot of chicken breast, quinoa, olive oil and Chinese five-spice (or your choice of flavouring; try garam masala, fresh chilli or lemon and garlic).
- Supercharge some freshly popped popcorn with a sprinkling of your favourite flavoured whey protein powder.
- Make your hummus and pitta a little more exciting by adding some hot smoked paprika and using sliced carrot or pepper sticks, too.
- Mix some grilled turkey chunks with rice, oil and plenty of spices (don’t forget a fork).
- Cook up some mixed-veg and smoked cheese omelettes in a muffin tins for perfectly portioned, tasty eggy snacks.
Fancy something that feels a little more indulgent? Try snacking on salmon jerky with a cool glass of (low/no-fat) chocolate almond milk; you can even add a shot of coffee to the mix if that’s your thing. Or why not make your own snack-sized nut balls, held together with chopped dates, apricots or other dried (sticky) fruits and dark chocolate?
Find the recipe that best suits you online, or come up with your own twist. It’s a personal thing and you should enjoy your diet as much as possible, so let your imagination run wild and see what you come up with. Then, have a look for a fitness class and take your snack for an al-fresco trial run.
As always, stay fit, and stay healthy.
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