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Kristine Xu is a journalism freshman and Mustang News food columnist.
Spring quarter is almost halfway over, giving little motivation to stay inside and not enjoy the beautiful weather outside. With more hours of sunshine, athletic peers and a top-notch Recreation Center, there is a plethora of reasons to break out those running shoes and get in a good workout. Here are some great options to snack on after an intense workout session to help your body recover.
1. Fruit and low-fat yogurt
While I definitely prefer this snack frozen, yogurt is a good source of protein and essential fats for after a workout. Mix and match different fruits and yogurt flavors for some added carbohydrates, vitamins and fiber. Additionally, you can place the yogurt, berries and some ice into a blender to make a refreshing post-workout smoothie.
2. Chicken stir-fry
Whenever I come back from the gym, I make sure to include at least one serving of lean protein, such as chicken, in my meal. Chop up several servings of vegetables and toss them on the stove with the prepared chicken. Season with salt and pepper and serve with white rice. For a vegetarian option, simply swap the chicken with some cubed extra-firm tofu or shelled edamame.
Eggs are a great source of protein if eaten in moderation, and have great health benefits found exclusively in the yolks. In addition to chemicals that assist in liver detoxification, the yolk is also great for brain function and repairing cell membranes. For a quick morning meal, beat two eggs until combined and add lots of sun-dried tomatoes, capers and herbs to add flavor without the extra calories. Prepare the omelet in a pan and serve with freshly sliced avocado.
4. Canned tuna
For sandwich lovers everywhere, a great post workout option is tuna on toasted whole wheat bread. Studies show eating a combination of carbs and proteins has a big impact on post-workout body recovery. Canned tuna prepared with a squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil on a slice of toasted whole wheat bread is an ideal snack after hitting the gym. Instead of bread, crackers are a great energizing substitute for fewer carbohydrates.
(via Fitness Magazine)
5. Chocolate milk
This iconic choice beverage of childhood also doubles as a great recovery drink. With enough protein and carbohydrates to repair and restore muscle tissue, it is a wonder more people do not include this drink in their post workout routine. Chocolate milk is the most useful drink for endurance athletes such as long-distance runners, because it sustains a steady level of constant performance, replenishing exhausted muscles and speeding up recovery.
While mostly eaten on hikes or in school lunches, nuts are a great source of protein with less fat. Combine with a cold glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice for a simple and light snack. Additionally, include a scoop of pretzels, raisins or dark chocolate chips in a plastic bag to make a delicious and easy trail mix.
(via Men’s Fitness)
7. Whole grain waffles
This snack takes almost no effort to make. After coming home from the gym, throw a waffle into the toaster and top with your favorite flavor of Greek yogurt and one tablespoon of almond or peanut butter. This easy-to-make snack has a great balance of carbohydrates, protein and even essential fats. Top with a handful of fresh berries.
(via Reader’s Digest)
Oatmeal is a great option before and after a morning workout, already being a popular breakfast option. The carbohydrates found in oatmeal are released slowly throughout the day, maintaining a feeling of fullness and preventing snacking. Slice up a ripe banana for some added sweetness and extra potassium.
(via Fitness Magazine)
9. Apple and string cheese
Pair apple slices and string cheese for this childhood throwback snack, while getting a healthy amount of calcium and protein. The antioxidants found in fresh fruit help curb hunger, while the string cheese provides a salty contrast to the sweetness of the apples. Substitute apples with whole-grain crackers for additional complex carbohydrates and fiber.
10. Tomato soup
Though usually accompanied with dinner, a light and fresh tomato soup is a delicious way to hydrate after a heavy workout. The fiber, vitamins, potassium and electrolytes found in tomatoes can also be found in many sports drinks. Instead of stocking up on the usual bottled sports drink, snag some juicy red tomatoes to prepare into a bowl of hot soup. Top with a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese and garnish with a slice of toasted garlic bread for dipping.
(via Cooking Light)