Now we come to our Top 10 Post-Workout Meals. From our previous post you’ll know that having a snack rather than a meal before your workout is ideal. So you probably gather that after your workout you really need to re-fuel your body’s depleted energy stores and have a full on meal!
Aim to have one of these nutritious high-carbohydrate meals to help your body recover after your hardcore training session and load on extra carbs if you’re trying to build muscle. This is also the best time to have a little treat because your muscles need sugar straight after your workout. Hooray for exercise!
Without a doubt the best re-fuel meal, porridge is one of the best carbohydrates to have because it doesn’t spike your insulin levels as much as other foods like white rice and chocolate do. It doesn’t spike your insulin because it releases sugar into your blood slowly, much like fruit does, and oats are also known to help lower cholesterol.
The best thing about porridge is you can top it with anything you like! You could even put some dark chocolate on top to help replenish your sugar stores especially after a hardcore weights-based workout, and adding a tablespoon of nut butter gives you a tasty hit of protein.
2. Granola and Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is full of protein so it will help your muscles to grow if you eat it along with a generally high protein diet. Granola is the perfect accompaniment to Greek yogurt but be wary of the high sugar content in many shop-bought granolas.
You can make your own granola easily by roasting nuts with oats, honey and cinnamon for about 25 minutes. Easy peasy! The mixture of protein and carbs will give your body that much needed energy when you feel tired after training. This is also another dish which can be customised so feel free to add nut butter, flaxseed or fruit for additional health benefits.
3. Cauliflower korma
This is a fantastic, quick and easy dish to make for dinner after your evening workout. It’s one of my favourite meals because you get the taste of korma as well as the complex carbs from the cauliflower. Complex carbohydrates are better for you but there’s no harm in having brown rice instead if you’re trying to build muscle or if you just fancy it! Blitz half a cauliflower so that it turns to a rice texture and then all you need to do is cook some chicken with korma sauce and there you have it, a healthy version of chicken korma that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated.
Drinking a fruit smoothie after your workout is an even quicker way to restore your energy levels because sugar in fluids absorb much quicker into your bloodstream. If you’re on-the-go, don’t fall for the sugary ones they sell in the shops, make your own in the morning or the night before by blending together some oats, banana, strawberries, milk and Greek yogurt.
One portion of oats is 30g but feel free to add more if you’re aiming to build muscle or just need more energy for the day. You can add nut butter to the mixture for an extra bit of protein or add date syrup to make it sweeter. Yum!
5. Stir fry
Stir fry dishes are another one of my favourite meals because not only are they ready in less than five minutes but they are so delicious. You can buy the stir fry ingredients in the fruit and veg section of your local supermarket but substitute the noodles for beansprouts or courgetti (courgette spirals) if you want to be extra healthy. Make sure to get your protein in there by adding your preferred meat or vegetarian source. With the balanced carbs of the noodles and veg this is a super speedy meal perfect for when you haven’t got time to spare or just when you’re starving!
6. Deliciously Ella’s Banana, Cinnamon and Almond Crumble
You might have realised by now that I am a huge fan of Deliciously Ella and this dish is one example why. It sounds indulgent right? But it’s a healthy version of a crumble and the high sugar content of the banana makes it perfect to eat after a workout to get your mojo back. You can find the recipe from her website here -it’s so simple to make that it’s perfect either for breakfast or as an evening treat. It’s really filling too, so after your workout when you feel zapped and you’re craving something hearty this dish does hit the spot.
7. Avo toast
I was trying to sound trendy there but Avo toast is basically avocado on toast. It was given the name ‘Avo toast’ after it became unbelievably popular and was even the most Instagrammed food picture of 2015! It’s a very healthy meal because the avocado is high in fat which helps your body to burn excess fat and is full of skin-loving nutrients. Paired with toast it will keep you full for hours. Top the avocado with some Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper for more taste and substitute the toast for rye bread for extra vitamins and less bloat.
8. Salmon with roasted cauliflower
Apart from the fact that salmon is an amazing source of protein you need after your workout (unless you’re vegetarian) we should all be eating at least two portions of fish per week. Salmon is high in omega 3 fatty acids which help to keep your joints supple, bones strong and your skin healthy. Cauliflower tastes great with salmon and roasting it with coconut oil adds some good fat to your meal while giving the cauliflower a beautiful taste. Cauliflower is a complex carb (as are other fruits and veg) so this meal is best for those who are trying to lose body fat rather than gain muscle.
If you’re heading out to your morning workout you might fancy a breakfast type meal when you get home so pancakes fit the bill. It’s the perfect time to make a big stack of fluffy American style pancakes with all your favourite toppings (even a cheeky bit of Nutella won’t hurt, you’ll need the sugar). Find your favourite recipe online and have fun piling them up with slices of banana in between and drizzles of maple syrup. Men who are trying to gain muscle love to add a scoop of protein powder to their pancake mixture to help them get a six pack and you can get a variety of powdered flavours. Millionaire shortbread pancakes anyone?
You can even just buy a fajita pack from the supermarket if you like but you can make it healthier by getting wholemeal wraps and making your own guacamole from leftover avocado. I love fajitas filled with peppers, courgette, aubergine and goat’s cheese but you can customise them to suit your taste. The good thing about these is that you can make them the night before and take them to work so that they’re ready for after your lunchtime workout if you smartly slot one of those in! Wholemeal wraps have more fibre than their white counterparts and have a lovely nutty taste which works great with the veg and salsa!
If you can, it’s best to have your post-workout meal within an hour of completing your training so that you can properly replenish your body and optimise the results of your workout. There are many other meals you could try but as long as you give your body the hearty dose of healthy carbohydrates it screams out for, you’ll be doing your body good. Bon appetit!