20 Post-Workout Recovery Foods

20 Post-Workout Recovery Foods

Whether you are working out to stay toned or are looking to rip some serious muscle, these 20 post-workout recovery foods increase results for all levels of activity. They may also offer more rapid repair. This is due to muscles expanding and sometimes microscopically ‘ripping’ then bleeding and needing time to heal. It all happens without you noticing but behind the scenes feeding your muscles the right fuel can mean all the difference between post-workout pain and toning results. 

There is so much attention given to pre-workout routines and especially the actual workout but few report simple post-workout applications beyond pills and powders. All it takes is some minor adjustments to heal, support, and nourish your musculoskeletal system. It doesn’t matter if you are doing heavy weightlifting or just trying to tighten up with light dumbbell reps, taking care of your body afterwards is just as important as what you do beforehand.

First Meal

The first post-workout meal is essential as this is the fuel your body needs to catapult the benefits of the activity you just did. The optimal time window to sit down for this first meal is about half an hour to one hour after your cool down. Below are two lists of 20 post-workout foods from plant-based sources broken down into two categories: proteins and carbohydrates. These have shown to help repair and rebuild the muscles that just took the brunt of your workout. 

Try Plant-Based for Optimal Results

Plant-based proteins and carbs may be a more optimal post-workout muscle support choice as recent studies of plant-based vs. animal based compounds are now showing similar comparisons. 

One study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that plant-based dietary proteins built muscle just as efficiently as meat sources but without the added carcinogens and toxins that meat may contain such as:

  • Endotoxins (toxin within a bacterial cell)
  • Synthetic hormones
  • Saturated fat
  • Trans-fats
  • Cholesterol
  • Neu5Gc (a molecule that cannot be synthesized by humans)
  • Antibiotic residue
  • Heavy metals such as arsenic and copper 

Plant-Based Power Proteins

These are high protein plant-based choices to add to post-workout support meals which could minimize toxicity, repair muscles, and support digestion. Protein includes amino acids that help to rebuild muscles.

  • Quinoa
  • Edamame
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Almonds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Wild rice
  • High protein vegetables – broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts
  • Tofu – What seems like a tasteless white brick, tofu absorbs flavors it is cooked with making it a surprisingly tasty option. Extra firm tofu is recommended as it is easy to cut into cubes or slices that can be sautéed into a ‘tofu steak’. Yes, it may sound silly but the clean protein benefits and savory taste are a win-win)

Carb Recovery

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad name as the nemesis to good health and manageable weight. Yet, this is due to the gluttonous nature of humans being surrounded by processed carb loaded snacks everywhere they go. Carbs help your muscles to recover while proteins support muscle growth and eating the right carbs without overdoing it can be of high benefit to keeping your muscles running on all cylinders. Plus, carbs can help to restore glycogen levels so you can recharge your energy reserves.

These are good post-workout carbohydrate choices to add to your meal:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Fresh fruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Legumes
  • Black raisins (also high in iron)
  • Bananas (excellent muscle supporting potassium)

A dietary note: Some believe that mixing carbs and proteins may cause the digestive system to work harder than it should. It may be beneficial to space out your protein and carb post-workout intake if you can. If you cannot, then it is best to choose a high protein meal as the main choice Carbs can be consumed later.

These 20 post-workout recovery foods are the best scientific food applications to enhancing musculature performance. Removing as many processed foods from your diet and replacing it with whole foods such as those above is an empowering choice. Using these foods to assist post-workout muscle repair and recovery is just plain smart.