Post workout, I usually find myself sweaty and maybe even slightly nauseated- but within an hour, you
can find me standing in front of my cupboard and my open refrigerator reaching and picking and shoving
into my mouth. Well, this only happens sometimes but it most certainly happens after a hard workout
when I have not properly prepared myself for the sudden deficiencies my body is working against and
craving food. NOW. Anyone who trains hard needs carbohydrates to fuel your muscles- preferably ones
that are rich in fiber, protein, and good-for-you fats that will keep your energy up and your stomach
satisfied. These can be found in SOME protein or premade bars (I am not typically a supporter of
these bars, but some are okay: Kind bars and Larabars are preferential) but even better, find a snack
that provides these nutrients without other added stuff. Have it premade so that you aren’t noshing
mindlessly while prepping it. I suggest something like a combination of quinoa (just half a cup), raw
veggies and cooked chicken breast.
Protein shakes are a sort of a middle of the road snack, but if you are focusing on strength training and
muscle building, a whey based protein shake is a good option. Greek yogurt is a great alternative to this;
The whey and casein combination in Greek yogurt means you’re getting a mix of fast- and slow-digesting
proteins, which provide muscle-building amino acids during your workout. Aim for 20 grams of protein
in your yogurt.
When you are sweating and really challenging muscles, fruit can also help fuel you through workouts
by providing much-needed carbs to your muscles and brain so your body doesn’t dip into your liver
glycogen stores to recruit energy. Fruit has lots of water in it to help rehydrate and pairing it with pure
protein like an egg will aid in muscle repair. Studies now show that the fatty acids are very helpful in
inflammatory damage caused by exercise. If you are doing a super strenuous workout, load up on the
eggs and think about adding something with vitamin C, which helps build cartilage.
One under-used snack that I suggest to runners is chocolate milk. This treat actually pulls its weight in
helping the body rehydrate, fill up on protein and offers sugar, a fast carb that’s beneficial in restoring
glycogen post-workout. Just don’t overdo it. This is a fun snack, not a daily one. Only if you’re running
close to marathon distances do you need other sources of protein like “goo”. I ran a very short race
recently and saw hundreds of people downing bags of grape nuts post-race. For a 5k, it just isn’t
necessary to “carbo load”.
These snack ideas all come from one similar theory: that natural grains, fruits that are low on the
glycemic index (berries, kiwi) and high protein foods (almonds, eggs) are essential in fueling, repairing
and building your body the right way. Be creative in your choices and think about choosing from the
rainbow of fruits and vegetables. The (snack) world awaits!