We all know the importance of a good workout, but how much attention do you really pay to what you eat after you train? Maybe you take a banana or a protein bar to eat straight away, as you know that it’s important to get your blood sugar levels up and prevent lactic acid build up. But when it’s time for your next meal, you might not consider how important it is to eat foods that will help your body to recover from your workout, making you stronger and fitter in a shorter amount of time. Eating the right meal after you workout can completely transform your fitness, so instead of ordering a pizza on your way home, take a look at these tasty alternatives.
It might be considered a bit of a fad food, but quinoa is an excellent ingredient to include in your post workout meals. It contains high levels of protein, as well as more calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium than barley, wheat and corn. All of this means that it’s a great energizer, which makes it good for a pre-workout meal as well. If you don’t know how to cook quinoa, then don’t worry, as it’s incredibly easy. All you need to do is boil in a pan of water for 15-20 minutes, and it’s ready!
There are several different types of quinoa, which are generally used in different meals. The white variety is often used as a gluten free replacement for couscous or rice, and can be served with roasted vegetables and fish for a high protein, nutritious meal. Black and red quinoa are slightly chewier and sweeter, and are often used in salads to add color and texture. These varieties should be cooked the same way, and then left to cool before mixing into the salad.
Another popular grain among fitness fanatics, chia seeds make an excellent post-workout breakfast base. So if you like to workout in the morning, you can enjoy this protein-rich food as your first meal of the day. Packed full of omega-3 and antioxidants, chia seeds help to repair muscles and boost your energy for the rest of the day. They are also a great source of fibre and low in fat, so they’re ideal if you’re trying to lose weight.
It’s so easy to prepare chia seeds, you won’t believe it. The only thing you really need is time, as most recipes need to be left overnight for best results. This is excellent for a breakfast, as you can make it the night before, then take it with you to the gym. All you need to do is mix the chia seeds with a milk of your choice and the other ingredients included in the recipe, then leave in a tub overnight. In the morning it will have absorbed the liquid and be transformed into a tasty pudding-like treat!
A popular alternative to regular potatoes, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, which helps to restore the body’s glycogen levels after an intense workout. These starchy vegetables are also rich in fibre, beta-carotene, Vitamin C, manganese and potassium, giving you the nutrition you need to recover post-workout. They’re also incredibly tasty, not to mention versatile, and can actually be preferable to traditional carbohydrates when cooked right.
Sweet potatoes can be incorporated into many of your favorite dishes by using them as a substitute for other carbohydrates. They can also be roasted with other vegetables, including kale, peppers and courgettes, and served with an egg for extra protein. They can be baked, mashed or even microwaved, adding a touch of sweetness to any quick weeknight meal.
The avocado has experienced something of a revival lately, and when you look at its nutritional value it’s no wonder. This delicious fruit is high in folic acid, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and potassium, which all boost energy levels and prevent high blood pressure. It is also famously rich in ‘good fats’, which keep your skin healthy, can lower cholesterol and will nourish your body after a workout.
Eating avocadoes post-workout is an excellent way to restore the body’s electrolytes, as they contain good levels of calcium and magnesium. Avocadoes are highly versatile and can be eaten on their own, or in a post-workout meal such as a quinoa salad. They also make excellent sandwich fillings and can even be spread on toast like butter, giving you all the nutrients you need in a tasty, easy to prepare meal.