It's been so hot here that it takes everything I have to force myself to work out. The thought of now having to eat while I am sweaty and tired is just too much to deal with! I know, I know...the after work out meal is critical and it needs to happen quickly after the workout otherwise I have ruined all the hard work at the gym. I usually find myself standing in front of the open refrigerator door half looking for a nutritious post work out meal half trying to cool off. I am so not a girl that likes to sweat!
This is the time to refuel, recover and repair so you really have to make it count. In an effort to make the most of that post work out meal, I have come up with my five favorites that I rotate throughout the week. Some are so close to a dessert, you may even feel a little guilty!!
A few things to keep in mind, you want to eat 15-30 minutes post work out. You want to have a good ratio of proteins to carbs and you really want to limit the fat here.
1. A Protein Shake-this is the ultimate because it is easy prep and can be consumed quickly. There are so many types of protein powders available on the market but the key is to find one with a limited amount of ingredients so your not taking any crazy additives you don't need. Whey protein is probably the best since it is so quickly absorbed into your body. My favorite is the Trader Joe's Protein Powder. It is unflavored so I can add anything I like to my shake and I don't get that fake sugar taste like some other powders can have.
I like to add the following to my shakes:
- Bananas-high in sugar and digest quickly (Good one if you have done strength training that day)
- Cherries-they help beat muscle pain, it's like taking an aspirin after your work out...and they taste great
The goal is fast acting carbs to replenish glycogen to help your body recover.
If I could give a quick product shout out here...You must have a Magic Bullet. Not only does it make quick work of a protein shake, but you can make salsa, shredded cheese, and a number of other things. I love mine!!
2. Rice Cakes-I am sure you are thinking that I am crazy for suggesting you eat carbs right after a work out, but I'm not!!! You want to have the right kinds of carbs, those that will provide an insulin spike to speed recovery. In order to get your protein, you can use a flavored protein powder (chocolate anybody???) add a splash of water and use it like a frosting for your rice cake.
3. 1/2 of a Sweet Potato-Add some cinnamon and/or raisins just don't load it with butter. This one will help to balance your blood sugar (you want to skip that dreaded dip that causes you to go into the ugly eating frenzy where you somehow convince yourself that eating the container of Nutella isn't really that bad)
4. Chicken/Turkey-No brainer here, right? You need protein! Nice lean cuts are best along with organic and non-hormone filled. You could pair the sweet potato with the chicken and have a really wonderful meal. I like to make a wrap-using a low carb tortilla, with chicken strips, lettuce, tomato, and cucumbers. Squeeze some lemon juice and your ready to go. Trader Joe's has a container of cooked chicken strips in the refrigerated section that makes life really easy.
5. Tuna and Wheat Crackers-This is a favorite in my house. Avoid mayo and add lemon juice to your tuna. A can of tuna provides 42 grams of protein for under 200 calories. You can pre-make your tuna and add celery, some red onion, capers. Make it tasty and you are more inclined to eat it.
Find the things you like and keep them on hand. Having some of these things prepared prior to your work out also makes it so much easier to get the nutrients more quickly and without hassle.
Love and Tulips,
Amanda from Irvine