Healthy eating is an important part of any fitness routine. Carbohydrate and protein are a MUST after exercise, as they serve to decrease muscle and joint tissue damage.
By Megan Holt, DrPH, MPH, RD
Q: I’m just starting a regular exercise and fitness routine, and I keep hearing different suggestions about what to eat for recovery after a workout. What foods are recommended after exercise?
A: Healthy eating is an important part of any fitness routine. Carbohydrate and protein are a MUST after exercise, as they serve to decrease muscle and joint tissue damage (and no, a low carb protein shake does not suffice, even if it has upwards of fifty grams of protein). Think fish, poultry, fruits, whole grains and vegetables. A minimum of a 200-400 calorie snack is needed to replenish post-exercise (Ex: steel- cut oats, berries, almonds and flaxseeds).
Grains are not the devil. We have decades of research supporting the health benefits of whole grains in the diet. They are excellent sources of antioxidants, fiber, and essential anti-inflammatory fats.
Don’t avoid dietary fat. The anti-inflammatory benefits are tremendous, which means inflammation is helped by the protective qualities of fats, primarily the plant-based fats, which translate to lower risk of injury. Fat is less crucial pre/post exercise compared to carbohydrate and protein, but it is still vital that we get enough fat throughout the day.
Don’t forget to fuel your fitness with easy healthy snacks like these.
Healthy foods and menu choices with the proper nutrients, like these Healthy Dining choices, can help you recover after exercise and ensure you’re ready for the next workout: