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Why You Should Eat a Snack After Your Workout

During a workout, you push your body hard. You use up the glycogen stores in your muscles. You even break down or damage some proteins in your muscles. Basically, your muscles are stressed and need the time—and energy—to heal themselves.

A great snack with 30 minutes of finishing your workout is a key way to help your muscles recover and ultimately grow. But you can’t just eat any snack; a bag of chips or a couple of cookies won’t help you recover.

Instead, you need a balanced snack that includes:

Nut butters provide the "good fat" you need to recover from a workout.

Nut butters provide the “good fat” you need to recover from a workout.

About 20 Grams of Protein

Protein contains amino acids necessary to rebuild or heal damaged proteins in your muscles. The right amount of protein for your post-workout snack depends on how hard you pushed yourself and your body weight. In general, eating .14 to .23 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is a good idea. If you weigh 150 pounds, this means you should eat about 21 to 34 grams of protein in your snack.

Double That in Carbs

Carbs are not the enemy—especially to athletes. Carbohydrates help restore your energy and your muscles glycogen stores after a workout. Without carbs, you may have low blood sugar and fatigue after a workout.

You’ll actually need about double the amount of carbs in your post-workout snack than protein. Again, the amount of carbohydrate you eat depends on how hard you pushed yourself and how much you weigh.

A Little Bit of Healthy Fat

Healthy fats from nut butters, avocado, or fish can help you regain energy, too. Though fats don’t play a large role in helping your muscles after a workout, it can still help you have more energy for the rest of the day.

Fluids

You may be dehydrated after a great workout. Always make sure your post-workout snack includes water to help you rehydrate.

Post-Workout Snack Ideas

Plenty of healthy snacks fit the bill described above. For your healthy snack, try:

  • Whole or 2 percent chocolate milk
  • Tuna on whole wheat bread or wrap
  • Protein shake and half a banana
  • A turkey and cheese sandwich on wheat
  • Apple and peanut butter
  • Greek yogurt and fruit
  • Egg and avocado on whole grain toast

For more snack ideas and dietary advice, schedule an appointment with Bon Secours In Motion sports nutritionists. Our experienced registered dietitians know how to use food to fuel great performance, build muscle, and improve health. Contact us today to learn more.