Friday, May 10, 2013

Reader question: Real foods for exercise recovery?


Ben asks: "I'm sore from my workout!What "real" foods could I eat after I exercise to alleviate this & stay healthy?" 

Great question, Ben!

After a tough workout, it is important to nosh on some carbohydrates and protein to help repair muscle and to replenish the stored glycogen. I like smoothies because they're quick - I made this smoothie before my run this morning and had it in the car for when I was through. Ideally, your recovery snack should be consumed within 30-60 minutes after your workout.

Why does this snack work? The yogurt and fruit provide carbohydrates, the nut butter and yogurt provide protein. The flavorings make it delicious without having to add any extra sugar.

Nuts and seeds (and nut butters) are a great option for getting minerals - magnesium, for example. Some folks seem to be more prone to charlie horses (those awful leg cramps) if these key minerals are low. The yogurt provides calcium, another important mineral for your muscles.

Here are a few more idea:
  • 1/2 cup Cottage cheese + 1 cup cantaloupe cubes + 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup chocolate milk
  • peanut butter sandwich with whole grain bread and banana slices in place of the jam
  • 1 Larabar
  • Handful of dried apricots + almonds
  • 1 hard-boiled egg + 1 cup grapes
  • 1 cheese stick + 1 pear
Remember to keep your portions reasonable - you don't want to eat more than you just burned - and to have a big glass of water, too!

What's your burning question for the dietitian?

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