Are you giving your body what it needs after a hard workout? Chances are it may get enough protein to help rebuild muscles or enough carbs to replenish your glycogen stores (the principal storage form of glucose which your body uses for energy). The average person needs about .3-.6 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight and about 10-25 grams of protein after a heavy workout – preferably within 30 minutes after your workout. So if you are 150 pounds, you would need about 45-90 grams of carbs (see below for a portion breakdown). The most effective meal after a workout is one that combines both protein and carbohydrates. Here are five tasty and easy options:
- Protein smoothie. Add 1 banana, ¾ cup blueberries, 8 oz. unsweetened almond milk and 1 scoop of protein powder (stay clear of soy protein isolate which is often highly processed and not an optimal source of protein). If you’re bold, throw in some spinach for increased vitamins and minerals. You won’t taste it, I promise!
- 2 fried eggs over 1 cup of warm whole grains topped with salsa. 2 eggs = 15 grams of protein. A cup of quinoa (45 grams) tastes yummy with eggs and a couple tablespoons of medium heat salsa. No time to cook? 2 hard-boiled eggs and a Flax 4 Life Muffin can offer a similar profile.
- Slice of smoked salmon on whole grain bread with a touch of avocado. Dave’s Killer bread is about 20 grams of carbs per slice. Careful of too much avocado as fat slows down digestion and we’re looking to get the protein and carbs ingested and digested rapidly.
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1/3 cup of berries and ¼ cup almonds or walnuts. Greek yogurt usually boasts around 15 grams of protein and also has carbs to combine with those from the fruit. Nuts are always a nice topping and add a little extra flavor and a smattering of protein too.
- Warm up a can of lentil soup. This usually gives you about 16 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbs depending on the brand. Amy’s Organic is a nice choice. Do be mindful of the sodium which can get up to 1000mgs per can!
So: 45 grams of carbs? 15 grams of protein? What the heck does that look like? Quick cheat sheet: 1 cup of rice = 45 grams of carbs. 2 oz. of fish = 15 grams of protein. It’s up to YOU to experiment and see what feels best for your body, but do eat SOMETHING after a workout. Not eating for an extended period post-exercise usually leaves the body depleted and hungry which will most likely result in less healthy choices later on.
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