6 Most Effective Workout Recovery Foods

Recovery foods, chocolate milk, workout foodsMost athletes who endure high-intensity workouts often argue over which foods provide the body with the best nutrients to rebuild following a routine. In the past, carbohydrates were thought to be the best choice, simply because your body stores carbohydrates in the form of glucose in its muscles and its liver.

The Importance of Recovery Nutrition

While some people who exercise only once or twice a week naturally restore their carbohydrate levels, avid athletes must eat within 30 minutes after completing a workout to ensure their bodies have enough fuel to rebuild. Research shows that you need more than carbohydrates alone to recoveries you work out regularly. When you combine protein with carbohydrates, you reduce damaging cortisol levels, and help your muscles rebuild and refuel.

Chocolate Milk

Believe it or not, chocolate milk is the one of best drinks you can have after a workout. There are 16 grams of protein and 52 grams of carbohydrates in two cups of 1% chocolate milk and although it contains fat and is high in sugar, it is still the healthiest choice available in terms of glycogen-boosting beverages.

Fruit Smoothies

One of the healthiest and easiest post-workout drinks you can have is a fruit smoothie. It is better to make your own from scratch instead of purchasing a commercial mix because the latter can contain extreme amounts of fat and sugar. Try to make your own by combining bananas, strawberries and fruit nectar with nonfat yogurt and honey. The best part about this drink is that you can switch it up every day so you are never bored with the flavor. Not only does it contain carbohydrates and protein, but you are also guaranteed vitamin C, iron and calcium.

Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich

Although this natural meal is high in fat, carbohydrates and calories, it will keep you feeling full for longer than any other of the foods discussed here. Simply spread peanut butter and honey on whole-wheat or whole-grain bread. This recovery food contains complex carbohydrates that are healthy for your body and it is one of the better options in terms of a post-workout snack.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel

Make sure you check your bagel size before you consume it, as you may ruin your workout efforts simply by eating too much. Generally, store bought bagels are available in more reasonable portion sizes than those offered at coffee shops. Whole-grain bagels are best and contain both carbohydrates and proteins for your muscles. Whole-grains are also an excellent source of other essential minerals, vitamins and fiber to round out your meal.

Low-Fat Cereal

Lean cereals that are low in fat and high in fiber will provide your body with the energy it needs to heal after a strenuous workout. However, make sure you check the labels as some granola cereals have higher sugar and fat contents than others. A new line of cereals specifically formulated for athletes recovering from workouts is expected to hit the organic section in grocery stores across the country.

Energy Bars and Powdered Mixes

While these foods are readily available at any convenience or grocery store and have proven to be effective, they may not be as healthy as their manufacturers claim. Energy bars are handy and require no cooking, but some may be higher in sugar, which may affect your diet or weight loss plan. Depending on the brand and the flavor you choose, you may be consuming just enough carbohydrates and proteins to fuel your muscles, but make sure you read the label thoroughly before consumption.

Nothing beats a bowl of raisin bran to help me refuel after A workout. What’s the best recovery food for you?