• Top Five Post-Workout Meals

    July 13, 2013

    Hi there! My name is Danielle and I blog and run my nutrition coaching business over at http://danielleprestejohn.com. It is my goal as a weight loss specialist to empower the women I work with to eat right, stay active, and learn to love their bodies. One thing that was crucial in learning to do this for myself was CrossFit. CrossFit has taught be how to stay healthy, love my body for what it can do-and not how it looks, and to push myself beyond where I ever thought possible.

    Today I want to talk to you about something that has become a fundamental part of my nutrition, my post workout meals. Refueling after a workout is key in order for your body to recover and repair properly. Some general rules of thumb I consider when choosing a post workout meal are, consuming a good balance of protein and carbohydrates, limiting fats, and aiming to consume something within 15-40 minutes of completing my workouts. I also make sure to consume fish oil daily to lower inflammation and aid in recovery. Now that you know my guidelines for a healthy post workout meal, I want to share some of my favorite options with you:

    1. Whey protein and water. Simple and effective. This is literally what I have every day after a WOD in my car on my ride home from the gym. Whey protein is the best protein to use because it is quickly absorbed in your body. A liquid works best as well to speed up digestion. Look for a protein brand that is limited in added ingredients. I love Stronger, Faster, Healthier whey protein (I use their fish oil too!).

    wheyprotein

    2. ½ sweet potato topped with raisins and cinnamon. This is a great take-along option to bring with you for your post workout meal. Roast a few sweet potatoes to have on hand for the week, and then pack up ½ of a sweet potato with you. Top with cinnamon and raisins for an extra nutritional boost. The cinnamon is great for balancing blood sugar, and the raisins help to bring your body back into an acid/alkaline balance, important after a workout. Be sure to add protein to this meal. Whey protein would pair well with this, as would lean chicken breast or egg whites.
     
    sweet potato 3. Hard-boiled egg whites and rice cakes with “protein frosting”. Egg whites are a great source of protein. While I am usually all about the yolks (they hold all the nutrients), they also contain the fat, which you want to avoid after a workout. These are easy to prep ahead and convenient to pack. Pairing them with the rice cakes will give you a quick digesting carbohydrate, which is what you want to aim for post workout. By topping them with protein frosting, which is literally just whey protein thinned with a splash of water, you are boosting your protein intake.
     
    eggs 4. Egg white, banana pancake. I love bananas post workout because they are high in sugar and digest quickly in your body. Post workout is the ideal time to consume higher glycemic foods so there is no need to worry about the sugar content. Make your pancake by combining 2-3 egg whites with a banana, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla extract in a blender. Pour onto a skillet and cook as you would a pancake. Quick, easy, and delicious.
     
    2ingredientpancake 5. Smoothie. If you are home shortly after your workout you can make a smoothie instead of just the whey protein and water. I love combining whey protein, coconut water, ½ a frozen banana, a few frozen cherries, and a handful of spinach to my smoothies. The coconut water helps to boost and balance depleted electrolyte levels post workout, the protein aids in muscle recovery and repair, and the fruit rebuilds energy stores that have been depleted. This is a great option after a longer workout.
     

    Smoothie So there you have it! My favorite post workout meals. Looking for a little extra nutritional guidance? Sign up for my newsletter to get all my latest updates. Now you tell me…

    What’s your favorite post workout meal?

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    { 25 comments… read them below or add one }

    Christine | Mindful Juggling July 13, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I’ve been meaning to try one of those egg white banana pancakes. These are great suggestions. I sometimes forget to consume protein right after a workout, and it’s so important.

    Reply

    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat July 13, 2013 at 7:34 am

    These are some wonderful suggestions! My usual post-workout meal is a smoothie. My recipe is similar to yours, but I use the PlantFusion Protein Powder because it’s easier on my stomach than the whey.

    Reply

    Melisa July 13, 2013 at 8:04 am

    I came back from a long run and mashed up a sweet potatoe with 2 eggs. added a cinnamon and a pinch of salt then cooked it like a pancake which I am eating now as I read this.

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    Sara @ sarasmiles July 13, 2013 at 8:26 am

    These are great ideas-thank you! One question: I had never heard of the “limiting fats” after a workout, and I am just curious why this is so?

    Reply

    Danielle July 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    @Sara @ sarasmiles: Hey Sara! Limiting fat after a workout makes it faster and easier for your body to digest your post workout meal. This is great if you are looking to improve performance. If your goals are more focused on fat loss, you may want to add in a fat source so you don’t become too ravenous shortly after your workout. It really depends on your goals :)

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    Sara @ sarasmiles July 13, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    @Danielle: Makes sense, thanks Danielle!

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    Amanda @ Pink Runner Girl\ July 13, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Love egg white banan pancakes! They are so easy and convenient. I freeze them!

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    Teresa July 13, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Water and whey powder? Why not just drink a glass of milk after a workout? It would be cheaper than those expensive whey powders.

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    Danielle July 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    @Teresa: Teresa great suggestion! Not everyone can tolerate milk and dairy, myself included, due to the lactose, but are totally fine with whey. This is where this suggestion comes from. Whey is actually the fastest and easiest digestible source of protein to consume. You definitely have a point though. Milk is far superior to many of the overly processed proteins out there, which is why it’s so important to stick to a quality protein. If you don’t want to spend the money on the protein, milk is a good option if you can tolerate it.

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    Kelly@KellyRunsforFood July 13, 2013 at 9:07 am

    That pancake looks like a great idea! I’m a big fan of smoothies after working out.

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    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl July 13, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Great ideas, Danielle! I love having banana/egg pancakes, sweet potatoes and smoothies. Sometimes I also have an apple or banana with nutbutter, fruit and greek yogurt or a nut/date bar.

    Reply

    Melissa July 13, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I really like the idea of a sweet potato topped with raisins and cinnamon, it’s so unique and I’m sure the flavors blend exceptionally well together!

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    Nicole @ FruitnFitness July 13, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for sharing the great tips on what to eat after a workout. I love sweet potatoes but haven’t really thought about taking them with me for after the gym. My go to post workout meal has been toast, butter an egg white and a whole egg.

    Reply

    Grace @ Grace Dishes July 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I like eggs or smoothies too. I love sweet potato but never thought of using it as a post-workout snack. Great idea. Thanks!

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    Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen July 13, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Great ideas here Danielle! I’m a fan of egg white banana oatmeal for breakfast after my workouts.

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    Rachel July 13, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I’m curious why you recommend to avoid fat consumption post-workout.

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    Danielle July 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    @Rachel: Hey Rachel. Fat slows the digestion rate of our food, which normally is a good thing because it means it keeps us full longer. However after a workout there is a very limited window in which we want to get in our post workout nutrition so avoiding fats helps speed up digestion. If you are looking to lose weight you may want to include a fat source, however if your main goals are improving performance, I would skip the fat post workout.

    Reply

    Angela July 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Why do you need that much protein? Seems like A LOT.

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    Luv What You Do July 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    I love a green smoothie or almond butter and banana post workout!
    I also love sweet potatoes and will def add some cinnamon and raisins next time. Great idea!

    Reply

    Emily July 13, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Wow, these all look pretty unappealing taste-wise! Different strokes for different folks I guess.

    Reply

    Katie @ KatieEnPursuit July 13, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Awesome options! I vote for any & all of those as a post-workout meal! I usually trade off between a green Vega protein smoothie & a banana/egg pancake! Both delish :)

    Reply

    Shailender July 14, 2013 at 3:49 am

    Post workout, I generally go for bananas, eggs and of course water. You’ve mentioned other items as well, so now I have more options. ;)

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    Lucie@FitSwissChick July 14, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Love these options!! I need to get my hands on the sweet potato. I ususally have an eggwhite omelett with veggies, or plain with cinnamon!

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    Kasey July 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Danielle, do you use the Pure Whey or the Recovery from SFH? Also, can you direct me to a post about pre-workout fuel? I head to CrossFit after work (a number of hours after lunch) and have had some trouble finding suggestions. Thanks!

    Reply

    adriana July 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    For me is a big salad or a smoothie, isually my post workout is my dinner and i dont like to eat to heavy in the night :)

    Reply

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