athlete eating healthy diet

What is the best food to eat after exercise

Fitness  |  By

Starving after exercise? Not sure what the best re-fuelling snack is? Dr. Sally Norton shares her nutrition advice and post workout favourites.

Want to eat more after exercise? Don’t worry too much… it’s normal. Why do you think gyms often cash-in by having vending machines full of chocolate in the foyer?! They know it is difficult when you are hungry to bypass those bars of chocolate calling out to you, telling you how much you deserve it after a work-out!

The good news is, that whilst your body does encourage you to eat, it is also better at telling you when to stop – science shows your ‘satiety’ (fullness) signals are better tuned after exercise.

However, it’s easy to over-do it if you are re-fuelling on calorie-dense, heavily-processed junk food rather than proper food that your body can actually recognise and respond to.

So, what should we be eating instead?

Have a bit of protein – say around 10-20g (roughly equivalent to 1-2 eggs). Mix that with some complex carbs – wholegrains or veg-based. Don’t forget to replace fluid – water is fine. It will fill you up and stop you mistaking thirst for hunger, which is surprisingly easy to do.

You don’t need to worry about energy drinks either – they try to hook you by saying you need to replace lost electrolytes and nutrients. In reality, unless you have just completed a gruelling endurance event, you can regain any lost salt and other electrolytes from your food. Also, these drinks tend to be packed full of sugar – not what you need after all that hard work.

My favourites revivers after exercise are…

  • Greek yoghurt and a handful of blueberries
  • good-quality nut butter on a rice cake
  • egg on wholemeal toast
  • tuna and avocado salad
  • chicken and spinach sandwich on wholemeal bread
  • or if I am dashing out of the door, I grab a banana and a handful of nuts

I also find that if I stay in my exercise kit to cool off whilst I am preparing some food, I am a bit less tempted by not-so-healthy options… somehow, eating chocolate in lycra just doesn’t seem right!!


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