Whether you are just coming back from the gym or a quick run, you need the proper nutrients to refuel you post-workout. Usually a hard workout can leave us starving, but it is important to make wise food decisions after your calorie burn. Don’t think that just because you burned calories that you are free to eat whatever for the rest of the day. To stay healthy and make your workout count for more, avoid these post-workout foods.
- Raw Vegetables: If your run made you feel super-healthy and makes you want to consume a raw vegetable salad, think again. There is nothing wrong with raw vegetables, but after a hard workout, you have depleted a lot of your nutrients. Raw vegetables can help you regain some of your vitamins, but they should not be eaten alone. Instead, make sure you pair your raw veggies with a good source of protein, such as chicken in your salad or hummus with carrots and celery.
- Pastries: It is possible that the doughnuts and cookies look even more appetizing after you worked up a sweat, but please avoid them. Pastries are full of sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates. They will not provide the proper nutrition your body craves. If you are craving carbs post-workout, refuel with a hot bowl of oatmeal or whole wheat bread.
- Salty Foods: Depending on how hard your workout was, you probably lost a lot of potassium and electrolytes. This could make you have a sudden craving for something very salty, such as potato chips. It is better to have a banana and coconut water to restore your potassium and electrolyte levels naturally. You may find you don’t suddenly crave salt after your banana and coconut water, since your body’s needs have been met.
- Energy Bars: Many individuals will reach for an energy bar or meal replacement bar after their workout. It is better to have these bars before your workout, since they tend to be higher in carbohydrates and sugar. If you workout at night, an energy bar after your workout can make it harder to drift off to sleep, as well.
Of course, there are many other obvious food choices you should avoid after a workout, such as sugar and fast food. Here are three good ideas for an after workout snack:
- Tart Cherry Juice: Studies have found that pure cherry juice can reduce muscle soreness after workouts. Try mixing it with coconut water for more health benefits.
- Protein: Lean protein is a great choice for after a workout and will help your muscles. Try natural chicken strips or hardboiled eggs for a quick protein pick-me-up.
- A Little Bit of Fat: A little bit of healthy fat is also a wise idea for after a workout. You can try some peanut butter on celery sticks or even blend a tablespoon of coconut oil into your protein shake.
If you are going to spend the time and energy to workout, then make it count with the right nutrition afterwards. Remember healthy carbs before an intense workout and lean protein paired with a little bit of fat after your workout. Remembering that can help you with your fitness goals.
Remember to always consult a chiropractor or a physician before taking any health advice.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.