By Lisa Abbay, R.D. 

When exercising, remember to fuel properly pre- and post-workout. If you’re not recovering properly afterward, you’re not training effectively. Proper nutrition will help with proper recovery, but that also includes sleep and stretching. When it comes to eating for muscle recovery, the answer means eating foods that target optimal recovery. 

When you exercise, your body recruits glycogen, your stored version of glucose, which is in your muscles and liver. Eating right post-workout will help you replenish your glycogen stores. While taking in carbohydrate-rich foods assists in refilling those glycogen stores, eating protein will help repair and rebuild the muscle tissue damaged during your workout. 

What is Important to Eat Post Workout? 

Be mindful that the type of exercise will determine the type of fuel you need for your body. A triathlon athlete will need different foods to refuel than an Olympic swimmer. Longer-based workouts require more carbohydrates to replenish those carbs lost during exercise. 

Here are some recommended foods to eat post-exercise for recovery. 

These meals and snacks offer a balance of carbs, protein, and electrolytes, which are all needed for you to properly recover: 

  • Whole grain bread and raw peanut butter 
  • Smoothie with frozen fruit, yogurt, and peanut butter 
  • Fruit and raw peanut butter 
  • Quinoa grain bowl with fresh black beans, fresh veggies, and salsa 
  • Scrambled eggs on whole grain bread 
  • Protein drink 
  • Butter lettuce and grilled chicken with oil and vinegar 
  • Oatmeal with nuts and chai seeds 
  • Low-fat chocolate milk 

By listening to your body and talking to a registered dietitian, you can take control and get the best results from your post-workout nutrition. 

For more information on exercise recovery, please reach out to a registered dietitian who is a credentialed sports dietitian. 

Lisa Abbay, MBA, RDN, LDN, FAND, has over 24 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian in clinical nutrition, regional food service, and as a senior leader in Talent Acquisition. She is a freelance writer and speaker.