Muscle Building Snacks to Have After a Workout
Lot many of us after the initial lull in exercise during the lockdown are now back to exercising regularly in an attempt to make up for the weight gain during the captive months. So this is a good time to recall the rule that food and exercise are very closely related and what you eat before, during and after you exercise can actually make or break a workout, and affect your fitness results - and thus tailor the diet accordingly.
Simply put what you eat can have a huge impact on what you’ll gain (or lose) from the exercise that you are doing. It could help you recover, build muscle, get ready for the next season - or lead to injuries and muscle loss (instead of gain).
The Basic Rules to Follow
When you exercise the muscles use up the glycogen energy stores and some of the muscle proteins may also get damaged, especially during strength workouts. So you need to eat food that helps rebuilding of the used glycogen stores, and aids in muscle repair.
That is why your post-workout meal/snack should be a combination of fast-absorbing carbohydrates and protein that’s quick and easy to absorb. The carbohydrates will replenish your energy reserves and proteins will rebuild the muscle tissues damaged during a workout. Please don’t skip the carb - when it comes to post-workout recovery, carbs are indeed your friend.
First rule: after the workout, the first step is to allow for a cool-down period of about 30 minutes to an hour before eating.
Second: just because you have exercised, it is not a license to over-consume. Don’t reward yourself with rich foods and/or large portions of food after exercising, you might end up eating back all of (if not more than) the calories they just burned. So choose smart.
Third: opt for easily digestible foods to speed up nutrient absorption. Steer clear of rich, greasy foods. Fat takes your body longer to digest, which can lead to an upset stomach.
Fourth: opt for foods that are packed with other micronutrients. Also, OD on antioxidants to help tame the heavy exercise-induced inflammation in the body.
Fifth: make replacing the fluids you lost during a workout a priority Have 500ml water after the workout to keep the body well hydrated. Depending on the intensity of your workout and the temperature of the environment, you may also need an electrolyte drink to replenish sodium and potassium lost in your sweat.
Try these 15 Snacks
Egg with the whole wheat roll is a good combination of good quality protein and complex carbs. You can even replace the wheat with roasted sweet potato to make the meal even more virtuous.
Hard-boiled eggs with carrot sticks and mixed nuts; simple and perfect. Or just mash hard-boiled eggs with Greek yogurt, season and eat spread on crackers. Eggs help you get ripped. And stick to whole eggs (with the yolk). The muscle-building response from whole eggs is greater compared to egg whites alone.
Chocolate milk with fruit. Milk delivers the ideal ratio of carbs to protein -- about 4 to 1 -- to refuel and rebuild your muscles. It is 90% water too, so it replaces some of the fluids you lose during exercise and fruit adds the micronutrients, carbs, and fibre.
Greek yogurt or yogurt and fruit: Add some roasted seeds for some good fat and lots of inflammation cutting antioxidants. Dairy is perfect to kick-start the muscle-building process.
Banana and peanut butter: The bananas deliver good carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium, and peanut butter good fat and protein.
Chickpea salad with lots of veggies: perfect vegetarian protein and fibre combination.
A combination of low-fat dairy (a great recovery food with plenty of protein) like yogurt or Greek yogurt and fruit or berries, is a perfect combination.
Cottage cheese with veggie sticks (cucumber, carrot) or veggies stirs fry (zucchini, mushroom, broccoli): Cottage cheese delivers protein and also contains lots of leucine, an amino acid that promotes muscle protein synthesis after your workout. Veggies deliver minerals and antioxidants.
Quinoa salad with lots of veggies: Again a good fibre rich high protein and nutrients loaded, filling dish.
Poha with soya chunks or sprouts and spinach: carbs and protein, easily digestible combination.
Green shake: Mix up spinach, apples, and bananas for a shake full of nutrients and add a dollop of cooked oats for carbs and some almond or peanut butter for protein.
Salmon with a side of virgule and beetroot: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish translates into lower levels of muscle soreness after resistance exercise.
Sattu drink made with coconut water and apple, peanut butter, cheese (ricotta preferably) cracker: Sattu and cheese will deliver protein, apple antioxidants, and fibre and cornet water the much-needed electrolytes.
Bhutte ki Kees made by cooking grated corn with all spices and then simmered in milk to add a slightly sweet taste. It’s rich in protein and fibre. Hence, good for building muscles. A popular snack in Madhya Pradesh.
Sprouts chaat with avocado: Sprouted lentils deliver easy to digest protein and multiple vitamins and minerals, and avocado adds good fats to this refreshing snack.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)
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