The struggle to keep hunger at bay once you get going on a regular workout routine is real. I mean, I’m not hitting a CrossFit gym (maybe one day) and lifting heavy stuff, but the added cardio and resistance training does deserve a little post-workout snack lovin’ –if you know what I mean.
Because what happens if I don’t’ have some post workout goodies prepared at home or in my gym bag? I make crummy choices. Like, I grab whatever I can find first. So, today I want to share with you some of my favorite healthy post-workout snacks.
Many people make the mistake of cutting back on their calories too much when they start working out. Often times, the focus is only to “burn calories and lose fat” and follow the old way of thinking “calories in, calories out.” And yes, do you do have to have a little calorie deficit to see the numbers move on the scale, but the food you choose to eat matters.
I receive lots of emails from readers sharing their experiences and journeys to lose the post-baby weight gain. I know this story well since I’ve been in that rodeo three times.
One thing I read often is that they are skipping meals, eating just fruits and vegetables, only eating protein, and drinking a protein shake to replace their meals -just to name a few. One of the requests that soon follows the email is to share the type of protein that I drink, bars I eat, and ready-to-eat snacks.
And sadly, I’m often writing a disappointing reply that I don’t drink protein shakes daily, nor eat proteins bars as snacks or meal replacements daily (they are expensive!), since I am a true fan of meal planning and prep to put together our food for the week -even my snacks. Do I buy protein powder and bars? Sure, from time to time for myself and definitely for my husband.
But this post isn’t about what you can “buy” instead, I want you to think about food as fuel. So if you can think of food as fuel, then I’ve got a few favorites to share with you depending on your goals.
For times you are so hungry you need a little something to hold you over to get through a workout I like to drink one of my Cinnamon Roll Smoothies. Banana, a little oatmeal, unsweetened almond milk, and cinnamon… yes, it’s all that.
Another quick option is apple slices with almond butter. Simple, it provides the energy you need to tackle the workout, and are delish.
After a workout, nutritional goals tend to be a little different depending on the type of workout you just completed. When hunger hits after a light cardio workout, and it’s not the time to eat a meal, you might want to eat:
- some peanut butter spread over a rice cracker,
- half an apple and string cheese,
- one cup of unsweetened yogurt or cottage cheese,
- 5-6 almonds and one ounce of cheese
After a high-intensity cardio session, you might want to refuel with…
- a lower-sugar smoothie,
- half an avocado and some turkey rolled up,
- 3-4 no-bake energy bites
- 1 cup unsweetened yogurt or cottage cheese and 5-6 almonds,
- my favorite green smoothie,
- 1 cup of veggies and 2 ounces of hummus
Learn more about my favorite after-workout smoothies here!
EVERYDAY HEALTHY SNACK OPTIONS
Of course, I don’t just snack when I’m working out. I love to snack during the week to provide my body with nutrition and energy to finish out my day. Because really, as much as I love coffee, a cup at 3pm isn’t the wisest choice. Some of my favorites:
- hummus and veggies snack cups
- No-Bake Healthy Blondies
- ½ cup cottage cheese + 1 tablespoon almond butter
- ½ avocado + 1 hard boiled egg
- 2-4 deviled eggs
- Mocha Bowl
- Pumpkin Spice Cookie Dough Dip + ½ apple
- Egg Salad Stuffed Avocado
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Snack Bars
- Hummus Stuffed Celery Stalks
- Paleo Breakfast Cookie
- ½ cup strawberries + ¼ cup PB&Chocolate Dip
- No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bites
While having snacks on hand pre-made or whipping one of these up quickly, don’t forget that your ultimate goal is your health, which can only be achieved with what you put into your body.
It’s important to assess the type of workout you are about to have or just completed before eating away at your homemade snacks, especially the treat-like snacks.
Something I like to think about is whether or not I’m really hungry, thirsty, and if I’m using this snack as a way to pass the time. The truth is that some days I don’t eat enough at meal times and that leads to snacking more than I’d like.
When it comes to when you should eat post workout, I usually wait about 20-30 minutes so I can assess how I feel after the workout, how much time I have until my next meal, and the type of workout.
Most importantly, drinking water during a workout and immediately after will help prevent cramping and muscle soreness.
While one workout might not make you super hungry that one day, once you get a good workout routine going your body will begin to ask for more nutrition. Therefore, it’s important to have some of the ideas above on hand to make sure there’s no excuse to hit the drive-through on the way home, even if a burger does sound amazing.
What are your favorite post-workout snacks and meals?