15 easy ideas for post workout nutrition

though some women look at working out as a chore on the “to-do list” and something that wears them out, working out actually can give you more energy throughout the day to chase kids, grocery shop, clean, work or whatever your day consists of.  waking up at 5am to get in my workout is what works for me right now.. some days I absolutely hit a brick wall around 10am, and I can always tell why thats the case.. 
working out causes muscle breakdown and thus you have to be diligent with your nutrition to help repair the muscle so you get stronger and don’t feel beat all day.
if I’m not keeping up with what I’m eating, how much I’m eating, and when I’m eating it.. I can really tell a difference!
ideally, you need to eat within the 45 minutes after a workout to start the recovery process.  most of the time I am absolutely not interested in food post workout, so I get in a quick snack instead of meal.  

a good post-workout snack or meal consists of carbohydrate (grain, fruit, honey, etc.), protein (milk, yogurt, egg, lean meat) and little to no fat.  
fat slows down digestion so you don’t want to load up on it immediately post-workout as that delays how fast everything digests and thus how fast you start the recovery process.  if you are having a meal with some fat it’s fine, but keep it a small amount.  if you are just grabbing a post-workout snack, then try to keep it to just carbs and protein.  
five post-workout snacks 
(eat right after you workout)
6 oz low-fat Greek yogurt with 1 Tbs. honey and ½ – 1 cup berries
8-12 oz low-fat chocolate milk
8-12 oz low-fat milk and a fruit

Smoothie with low-fat milk, ½ cup Greek yogurt and 1 cup fruit
Running out the door: Energy/protein bar with 10-20 grams of protein and at least 20 grams of carbohydrates

five easy post-workout breakfast meals
(eat right after you workout or follow your snack an hour or two later)

bacon + eggs: 1 egg, 2-3 slices turkey bacon, 1 slice whole wheat toast with 100% fruit jam OR 1 cup fruit, 8 oz low-fat milk
make it light: 1 slice whole wheat toast with 1 Tbs. peanut butter and a sliced banana with 6 oz low-fat Greek yogurt
drive thru delight: whole wheat English muffin with 1 egg, 1 slice 2% cheese, 1 slice turkey and a fruit
the continental breakfast: ½ cup oatmeal (or an instant oatmeal packet) with 1 Tbs. honey and ½ cup berries, 2 links turkey or chicken sausage and 8 oz low-fat milk
running out the door: 2 low-fat string cheeses, whole grain granola bar and a fruit

five easy lunch + dinner post-workout meals 
(for those that workout later in the day!) 

stack it up: sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread with 2 oz lean meat, 1 slice low-fat cheese and veggies paired with 1 cup chopped fruit
a balanced plate: 3-4 oz lean protein (chicken, beef, fish, turkey), 1 cup carbohydrate (sweet potato, potato, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, pasta, fruit, etc.) and 1-2 cups veggies
easy peasy: 2 oz turkey/ham rolled up with 2 slices low-fat cheese, fresh spinach and sliced veggies of choice and 2 Tbs. hummus paired with 15 whole grain crackers
no meat? no problem! whole wheat tortilla with ½ cup black beans, 1.5 oz low-fat cheese, ½ cup quinoa, ¼ large avocado paired with 6 oz low-fat Greek yogurt with ¼ cup berries
running out the door: P3 protein pack (in deli section of store) paired with a banana, 2 Baby Bell cheese rounds and a baggie of baby carrots

HUGE thank you to my dear friend and Dallas Cowboys sports dietitian, Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD for helping me put these easy meals together!  

June 2, 2016

  1. Kelly Smith says:

    This is really helpful Amber. Do you have an Energy Bar that you like or would recommend?

  2. Morgan E says:

    I figured Amy may be behind some of these ideas. She was always so wonderful to work with:)

  3. amber says:

    Kelly- off the top of my head.. I've been eating the Natures Valley Protein Bar! Its got 10 grams of protein and 190 calories in each bar. I hope that helps!

  4. This is super helpful, Amber, thank you! I always hear "eat protein and carbs" but I need real life examples ?

    Now I can just make a list and go!

  5. Kelly Smith says:

    Thank you Amber! I did a little protein bar research and I bought a few Oatmega bars to try. Have you tried them? They're not bad! They offer Omega 3s and only 5g of sugar (low sugar is important to me). Anyway, thank you for the super helpful post! I love these fitness/health posts, and they fit so well within your WE EAT series. 🙂

  6. Jen Klares says:

    Did you eat before you were working out at 5am? I recently started working out bright and early, and I'm just not interested in food at that hour…but do you recommend eating something?? What was your experience?