The Five Best Things to Eat After Exercise

By Julie Brock

If you work out and feel like you are not getting the results you want, check your diet to see if you are eating the proper nutrients. Individuals often do not see improvement in their workouts because they do not fuel their bodies properly after exercise. Your post-exercise meal depends on the intensity and the length of your session. If you had an easy workout, you do not need to eat anything extra. If you had a high-intensity workout session lasting longer than 60 minutes, the post-exercise meal is critical to replenish glycogen storage. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends consuming carbohydrates within 30 minutes after exercise. Adding protein to the meal will also help repair muscle.

Sports Drinks

If you have just completed an intense workout, your stomach might not feel like eating whole foods, but liquids are easier to absorb and can be packed with nutrients to help you recover. The best drinks are ones that you make yourself to control the calories and nutrients that go into it. An example of a beneficial post-workout drink is mixing a small banana, low-fat milk and Greek yogurt. Keep the drink to 6 to 8 oz.

Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich

Using whole-grain bread, natural peanut butter and honey provide you with the right balance of carbohydrates and protein. Peanut butter is high in vitamin E, magnesium, folate and fiber. You get a sufficient amount of whole-grain carbohydrates to help replenish your glycogen levels, as well as protein and a bit of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to rebuild your muscles. Honey contains flavonoids, an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage and provides sweetness to your sandwich.


Using oats in recipes for a post-workout meal can help you recover and also power you through the rest of the day. Whole grains provide a healthy amount of folate, iron, magnesium and riboflavin, all energizing nutrients. Mix oats with nuts, honey and dried fruit for a meal that is easy to digest but packed with nutrients.


Eggs have protein, zinc and vitamin B12. Zinc helps monitor and maintain metabolism, while vitamin B12 helps produce new cells. With only 70 calories per egg, you can mix it with other vegetables to get a low-calorie, high-nutrient meal. The egg yolk contains most of the vitamins but also has 5 g of fat. To increase protein without too much fat, mix one whole egg with a few egg whites.


Quinoa is native to the Andes Mountains of South America and has been eaten for over 5,000 years. Quinoa is considered a cereal grain and has a high amount of amino acids. It also contains more calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium than barley, wheat and corn. Quinoa is easy to cook and can be mixed with other high-nutrient foods such as tomatoes, lima beans or chicken.

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