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Best Recovery Food To Eat After A Workout

February 01, 2018


What to Eat After Workout - Best Recovery Food

You place an effort into maintaining your health and staying in shape through exercise routines. That should also translate into the food you put in your body. One of the biggest questions asked is: what should I eat after a workout? Restoration of your body after pushing it through exercise is important. As such, you need to eat the right kinds of foods. The following will detail what to eat before and after working out so that you will have a better idea of the best recovery foods.

The Good & Bad of Recovery Food

Everyone knows that food plays an important role in the workout process. The right kind will keep you on track while the wrong kind will throw you off and force you to work that much harder. It is important that you focus on both your pre and post-workout meals in order to get the best results.

What Should I Eat Before Working Out?

The food that you consume prior to exercising will play a role in how well you recover afterward. It has a hand in things such as digestion and energy levels. In addition to adding good fluids, you will want to make sure to have complex carbohydrates and lean protein all in high-quality. In turn, be sure to eat a moderate amount of them as to not overwhelm your body before a workout. Keep to what you are familiar with so that you can better digest this food after working out. Also remember to avoid meals with high fatty and fiber concentrations.

What Should I Eat After a Workout?

Recovering from a workout is as important as preparing for it. After exercising, your muscles are typically depleted of energy. You need to restore those levels to help repair the muscles. Furthermore, you need to keep that metabolism going strong. So, what do you eat then? Similar to pre-workout food, you want to look to your carbohydrates and protein. However, focus on the type of protein and carbs. For instance, solid foods whether they are protein or carbs can slow up digestion. This is the opposite of what you want to do during your recovery phase, so focus on foods that aren't heavy or high in fiber.

Carbs & Protein (and Sometimes Fat)

Now that you're aware of what to look for, let's dive into what is considered by many to be the best recovery foods.



Though you will want to consume those complex carbohydrates pre-workout, you will want to avoid them when you recover. Look for simple carbs with a high glycemic count that are easy to digest. Some examples are seen below:

  • Fruits (bananas, kiwi, pineapple)
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes (Sweet Potatoes)
  • Quinoa
  • White Rice
  • Whole-Grain Cereal


As explained before, you don't want to consume solid protein after as it'll force your body to work harder to digest it. Try to go for more natural protein for gym workout recovery. Check out examples below:





Greek Yogurt

Protein Bar

Protein Shake (Whey, Vegetarian/Vegan)

Seafood (Salmon, Tuna Fish, Crab)



You may initially think to avoid fatty foods after working out since they tend to slow down the digestion process. However, there are some foods that are safe to consume depending on the amount. Try using some avocado, nuts (almond in particular), and trail mix with dried fruits and nuts.


Recovery Meal Ideas

There are many ways you can go about combining carbs, protein, and fat to create healthy post-workout meals. There are some things to consider beforehand such as where you think you'll be eating, the price of everything, and more. To begin, price comes into play when you consider things such as a supplement. There are many great protein supplements, but they don't always sell for a low cost. Consider if it is something you are comfortable with and do enough research to ensure the supplement is the right one for you.


If you're still interested, whey protein supplement is more popular due to being readily available and easy to mix. More so, it's a good natural protein for gym use as you can carry it anywhere and take it out right when you need it. You can combine this with fruit like bananas and milk of your choice. Chocolate milk in particular is known to have a good amount of protein and carbs. Another consideration in term of cost is seafood, in particular when it comes to salmon and crab. You can find some imitation crab if you wish at a lower cost, but it tends to be mixed with other fish. Nevertheless, it contains a good protein. Remember to go with foods to boost important vitamins like Vitamin C (kiwi, pineapple) for repairing tissue and Vitamin D (eggs) to help with strength training.


Still need ideas? Consider some of these healthy lunch ideas after workout:

Sandwich wrap with chicken/turkey and quinoa/pasta

Egg omelet with avocado toast

Greek yogurt with berries

Tuna fish salad sandwich with whole grain bread

Oatmeal with almond butter

Whole-grain breakfast cereal

Quinoa bowl with blackberries

Salmon and sweet potatoes

Whole grain pita and hummus

Timing Your Recovery Meal

No matter if you use the above healthy lunch ideas after workout for restoration, it's ineffective if you don't time it right. It's recommended that you consume a meal ASAP, but timing can be tweaked depending on why you're working out and what you ate prior. In general though, when you're thinking about what should I eat after working out, consider staying in the 30 minutes to an hour window as your muscles are the most receptive then.

Wrap Up

Understanding what to eat before and after working out is detriment to your overall routine. You can fully enhance your performance as long as you start out well and restore properly afterward. Recovering from a workout doesn't have to be painful, so keep in mind the above information the next time you hit the gym.

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