What Dietitians Eat … Following a Workout


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“Breakfast is my post-workout meal, but for clients who aren’t eating a meal right after, I recommend low-fat chocolate milk, a protein bar with 10–20 grams of protein or a smoothie with yogurt, milk and fruit. “A protein shake is [a good choice, but it’s not] superior to any other food that offers adequate protein and carbs after a workout. In general, any post-workout meal or snack that provides adequate protein, carbohydrates, fluid, and helps to meet total energy needs will work for a recovery option post-workout.”.

Second, eating protein after a workout is a must for speedy muscle recovery, particularly after weight training. Plus, food contains electrolytes (which are minerals that your neurons need to fire. Another simple post-workout combo is a whole-wheat English muffin with avocado or overnight oats with cottage cheese, nuts and fruit.

These snacks deliver protein, carbs, healthy fats, and minerals. Your muscles rely on carbohydrate foods like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables for quick energy. You need protein for your muscles. Whether you should eat before a workout is an ongoing debate. Some people believe in the benefits of fasted exercise, which — according to a University of Bath study — has been shown to burn more fat.

But others can’t even function without something in their stomach, because in addition to providing you with fuel to burn, a healthy snack can preempt workout. Most dietitians recommend eating something within 30 minutes after a workout. Your body, after using up its available energy, needs to be refueled, specifically with carbs and protein, for energy.

Eggs are one of the best — and my personal favorite — foods after a workout. They’re a powerhouse of nutrition, with a significant amount of protein and healthy fats — around 7 grams and 5 grams. After a competition or workout, focus on getting carbs and protein into your body. This gives your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen they just lost through training and helps your tired muscles rebuild and repair with the available protein and amino acids.

Try to eat within an hour of completing an intense workout. Swipe through to find the perfect nutritionist-approved, after-workout meal for you. Veggie omelette + a slice of whole grain toast Good after an early-morning workout.

List of related literature:

Good choices for your pre-workout meal are pasta, rice, potatoes, sandwiches (roast beef, turkey, peanut butter and jelly), oatmeal with fruit, or a breakfast burrito with eggs and potatoes.

“The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Race-Winning Fitness in 6 Hours a Week, 3rd Ed.” by Chris Carmichael, Jim Rutberg
from The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Race-Winning Fitness in 6 Hours a Week, 3rd Ed.
by Chris Carmichael, Jim Rutberg
VeloPress, 2017

For each meal, choose a protein source, whether it be eggs and bacon at breakfast or some type of fatty meat, such as steak, at lunch.

“The Ketogenic Bible: The Authoritative Guide to Ketosis” by Jacob Wilson, Ryan Lowery
from The Ketogenic Bible: The Authoritative Guide to Ketosis
by Jacob Wilson, Ryan Lowery
Victory Belt Publishing, 2017

Your meal needs to include protein (chicken, fish, lean red meat, soy products, eggs, nuts/seeds), vegetables, healthy fats (olive oil, avocadoes, nuts) and starch (whole grains, potatoes, pasta) to keep your body happy.

“Glycemic Index Diet For Dummies” by Meri Reffetto
from Glycemic Index Diet For Dummies
by Meri Reffetto
Wiley, 2014

About an hour before your workout, have a snack that includes the macronutrients you need, such as a slice of Ezekiel bread with almond butter; a bowl of oatmeal with soy milk and blueberries; a Simply Bar (see Appendix C and the Resources section); or a protein shake with flaxseed oil, soy milk, and whey protein.

“The Hormone Diet: A 3-Step Program to Help You Lose Weight, Gain Strength, and Live Younger Longer” by Natasha Turner
from The Hormone Diet: A 3-Step Program to Help You Lose Weight, Gain Strength, and Live Younger Longer
by Natasha Turner
Rodale Books,

Mix meat or vegetable protein with vegetables, pasta, rice, cereals, or other foods to provide all the protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, and minerals necessary for good health.

“ASPCA Complete Dog Care Manual” by Bruce Fogle, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
from ASPCA Complete Dog Care Manual
by Bruce Fogle, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Dorling Kindersley, 1993

the amount, eat a variety of plant proteins (e.g. nuts, lentils, legumes) and animal proteins (e.g. chicken, tuna, jerky).

“Adventure Racing” by Jacques Marais, Lisa De Speville
from Adventure Racing
by Jacques Marais, Lisa De Speville
Human Kinetics, 2004

Energy intake can be increased by eating meals more frequently; adding healthy high-calorie snacks, such as nuts, peanut butter, or milkshakes, between meals; and replacing low-calorie drinks such as water and diet beverages with 100% fruit juices and milk.

“Visualizing Nutrition: Everyday Choices” by Mary B. Grosvenor, Lori A. Smolin
from Visualizing Nutrition: Everyday Choices
by Mary B. Grosvenor, Lori A. Smolin
Wiley, 2017

Counselling may involve advice on eating patterns (e.g., eating certain types of snacks at particular times of day) or addition of energyand protein-rich food ingredients (e.g., cream, milk, oil, butter, sugar, and skimmed milk powder) to meals.

“Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition” by Benjamin Caballero, Lindsay Allen, Andrew Prentice
from Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition
by Benjamin Caballero, Lindsay Allen, Andrew Prentice
Elsevier Science, 2005

To facilitate enough calories, liquid meals may be necessary, such as whey protein smoothies with fruits, nut butters, and/or yogurt d.

“Sports Medicine: Study Guide and Review for Boards” by Jonathan T. Finnoff, DO, Mark A. Harrast, MD
from Sports Medicine: Study Guide and Review for Boards
by Jonathan T. Finnoff, DO, Mark A. Harrast, MD
Springer Publishing Company, 2011

On the days you eat cooked food, you follow the recommendations already given: fruit and fruit juices until noon, then lunch of a concentrated food (either a protein or a starch) with vegetables and salad, and dinner of a different concentrated food with vegetables and salad.

“Fit for Life: Not Fat for Life” by Harvey Diamond
from Fit for Life: Not Fat for Life
by Harvey Diamond
Health Communications Incorporated, 2010

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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  • I got inspired by your recipes and I made a vegetarian version! The beef can be easily replaced with “Beyond beef” so that’s a plus. I also couldn’t find a recipe for the protein jellie and I don’t have Lifesum anymore (or money to pay for it) but I experimented with my mom and we mixed some jell-o with non-flavoured protein powder. Tastes actually pretty good and has whooping 30 grams of protein per batch!

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