Post workout meals are important to any exercise plan. Not only do they provide the energy boost you need after working out, but eating right before your workout can help you avoid overeating and pack on the pounds. Research has shown that eating several small meals, rather than larger ones, is better for weight loss. Eating smaller meals more often keeps your stomach satisfied and helps you cut calories faster when you do consume larger meals later.
However, many people suffer from a “full blown” hunger pang right after working out, so they don’t get the full benefit of having smaller meal plans. If you have trouble sticking to meal plans and eating smaller portions at meal time, try snacking during your post-workout meal time. Have your nutritionist or fitness instructor to help you choose healthy snacks that will fill you up. You may want to keep a notebook so you can track your intake so you can make healthier choices next time.
When choosing a protein shake after your workout, look for one with a high percentage of whey protein. Studies have shown that whey protein shakes have a higher protein content than most other post workout options, including milk. Make sure to read the label of the protein shaker to check for the percentage of whey protein in it. You may also want to consider purchasing a protein drink with an added protein shaker cup. These extra shakers add a quick boost to your shake, especially if you’re not used to having your protein drinks cold. Cold protein drinks can cause stomach cramps, which can negatively affect your workout.
Another food to snack on post workout is a high-fiber, low-sugar snack. These pre-workout meals are an excellent choice if you have little time to prepare a more substantial meal. They’re also an ideal option if you’re on the go since a good fiber meal can fill you up for several hours until your next meal. Nuts, such as almonds and pecans are also excellent choices for these meals because they pack lots of calories without packing on the fat.
If you’re not into nuts but would still like to have some, opt for seeds instead. Protein powders work well when mixed with fruits or yogurt. This makes a delicious and nutritious snack that you can enjoy right away. To add variety to your routine, try pairing your protein powder with a fresh fruit. For example, to make a peanut butter and banana shake, mix a half cup of protein powder with two ounces of frozen bananas and two scoops of yogurt. You can also make a strawberry milk smoothie.
For snacks after your workout, don’t forget the granola bars! They pack a lot of energy and are great post workout options. They also make a healthy choice because they contain whole grains, which are good for you. Try mixing a bar with a bowl of cereal. You might be surprised at how filling and delicious a granola bar can be, especially when it is mixed with a bowl of low-fat milk or yogurt. You might even find that after a really strenuous workout, you need to eat more than usual to stay energized.
If you’re not a fan of nuts, but would still like to have something to munch on when you’re at home, there are many other options to consider. For example, if you’re in a hurry and need an easy, but hearty meal to make in the middle of the night, you can always make a meal out of leftovers. Cooked spaghetti, leftover veggies, and baked potatoes are all very easy dishes that you can prepare for dinner. If you’re not much for cooking, you can always skip the meal and have some fruit to take with you. Fruits are very easy to digest and don’t have a lot of extra calories, either.
If you’re in a pinch, you might also want to consider eating pre-packaged foods. You can buy these pre-made meal replacements in any supermarket, and they usually taste good and are very convenient. You can pick up a pack of French fries, cut up pieces of turkey, and load yourself up with pasta in no time. Just be sure to make healthy substitutions whenever possible and don’t eat too fast before working out because your body may start to feel the effects of the meal fairly soon after you finish it.