Recovery is a vital component of any training regime and after a good workout, it is important to recover by eating the right kinds of foods.
Knowing which type of foods to use post workout is the key to a good recovery.
The article below has expert sport dietitians discuss their favorite foods when it comes to nutrition recovery and the reasons why.
See if you agree with them and comment below what type of recovery foods that you use which work well.
1. Nuts (preferably almonds and walnuts)
Expert: Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, Nutrition and wellness counselor and consultant, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, based in Chicago, Illinois.
Why: Armul believes that nuts are a valuable recovery food because they supply protein—and “protein is important after a workout, since it helps with muscle recovery and muscle fiber rebuilding and repair.” She explains that “our muscles are especially open for rebuilding in the 30 minutes after a workout, called the ‘recovery window,’ so look for a protein source that can be carried safely at room temperature in your car or gym bag.”
Armul likes almonds and walnuts because, not only are they a good source of protein, they also contain healthy omega-3 fats. And she has another good reason to include almonds in your diet. She says, “Recent research has linked almond consumption to lower cholesterol levels and reduced waist circumference and abdominal fat. For athletes and active individuals, this is a win-win!”
2. Scrambled Eggs with a Baked Sweet Potato and Stir Fried Pepper and Onions
Expert: Jessica Crandall, RDN, CDE, National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Denver Wellness and Nutrition, Sodexo GM.
Why: For those who are willing to do the work, this is an excellent recovery food combination. Crandall likes it because it’s full of “good protein and complex carbohydrates as well as rich in vitamins and minerals. The protein helps to repair, and complex carbohydrates help to re-energize.”
3. Greek Yogurt
Expert: Angela Lemond, RDN, CSP, LD, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson and owner of Lemond Nutrition in Plano, Texas.
Why: Lemond recommends Greek yogurt to her athletes because it’s a great source of whey protein. She says, “Whey protein provides a great nutritional package of essential amino acids, which we must get from food because our bodies cannot produce them, which are well-suited for muscle recovery and reducing muscle injury time.”
She also likes Greek yogurt because it’s a versatile and portable food. She recommends choosing a variety with no added sugar. Instead, sweeten it by topping it with fresh or frozen fruit.
4. Turkey Wrap with Chicken Noodle Soup
Expert: Heather R Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD, Owner and Nutrition Consultant, Nutrition CheckUp, LLC, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Nutrition, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Why: Mangieri believes a turkey wrap and soup combo is the perfect food pairing for post-exercise recovery. “The body loses sodium through the sweat that is lost after extensive exercise. A turkey wrap with a cup of soup not only provides the carbohydrates and protein necessary for recovery, but it also helps to replenish fluid and sodium losses that likely occurred.”
Another bonus—soup is easily tolerated, making it an ideal choice for athletes who have difficulty eating after a hard workout.
5. Kefir Milk
Expert: Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, Owner of McDaniel Nutrition Therapy and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.
Why: Kefir is a liquid, cultured milk product. McDaniel likes it because it’s literally “a drinkable recovery fuel.” It provides an ideal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio for recovery—a 1-cup serving of low-fat kefir contains 11 grams of protein and 20 grams of carbohydrates—and it aids in rehydrating. Because it’s 99 percent lactose-free, it’s a great option for those who are lactose-intolerant.
McDaniel also loves the “good bacteria” present in kefir. She says, “Kefir contains live active cultures which have been shown to reduce the number and length of colds and other infections suffered by endurance athletes. These [probiotics] also improve digestion, which is critical for athletes.”