Megan's Confessions: 3 Quick Post-Workout Snacks
As college students, we work out for many different reasons. Some of us do it to relieve stress from class or take a study-break after spending hours in the library, and others might do it to build athleticism, strength, or a certain physique. Then, of course, there’s those of us who simply want to take advantage of a free college gym while we have it. Regardless of the reason we work out, one thing always stays consistent: the importance of post-workout nutrition.
When you exercise, you’re using your energy stores and breaking down muscles, and proper post-workout food will help your body recover so that your muscles can repair and grow. It’ll also help you have enough energy to power through your next round of studying.
Based on personal research and doctors’ recommendations, I have found that it’s most important to get protein and carbohydrates after a workout. Protein is the essential macronutrient for muscle growth and repair, and carbohydrates will help your body use that protein, allowing for an optimal recovery. While there are certain specifications for how many grams of these macronutrients you should be eating, it can be difficult to track numbers while trying to remember the class material you’ll be quizzed on the next day. Personally, if I’m not eating a meal after working out, I just have a snack that I know is protein and carbohydrate rich, and always feel good and energized afterward!
Here are some basic, healthy post-workout snacks that are easy to make in a college kitchen. They all take under 5 minutes to make, will nourish your body after a workout, and are made of simple ingredients. You can also easily customize them to your suit your favorite flavors or other preferences.
Greek Yogurt Parfait
I have yogurt bowls at least once per day, because yogurt is an excellent source of protein, as well as calcium and Vitamin D. You can add fruit or whole-grain cereal for a fiber-filled carbohydrate source. I also like to add nuts/nut butters to help keep me fuller for longer. Below is one of my favorite lower-sugar combinations.
½ - 1 Cup low-sugar Greek or Skyr Yogurt (ex. Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt, Siggi’s Skyr Yogurt)
¼ Cup low-sugar granola (ex. KIND granola)
Nut butter, nuts, or seeds
Layer chopped banana, granola, and nut butter on top of yogurt.
If you have a blender and frozen fruits - which are cheaper and easier to store than fresh fruits - this recipe is perfect for you. I like to use yogurt as my protein source in smoothies, but if you prefer protein powder, you can use that instead! The fruits act as your carbohydrate source, and the nuts/nut butter add a delicious flavor.
½ - 1 Cup low-sugar Greek or Skyr Yogurt (or a scoop of vanilla protein powder)
Handful of frozen banana and/or berries
1 Tbsp. nut butter, or a handful of nuts
Blend all ingredients together. If you are using yogurt, start with ½ cup of water, and add more to achieve your desired consistency. If you are using protein powder instead of yogurt, start with 1 cup of water.
Egg & Avocado Toast
Avocado toast is normally a breakfast food, I know, but it’s a great base for eggs, which means it has great potential as a post-workout snack. Eggs act as a quality protein source, and are easy to boil and store in the fridge so that they are available whenever you want them. The bread is a great carbohydrate source, and the avocado adds a nice flavor and creaminess.
1 Slice of your favorite bread
¼ - ½ of an avocado (or a scoop of guacamole)
1 boiled egg
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Toast your bread. Smash the avocado on top, and cover with slices of the boiled egg. Sprinkle on salt and pepper.
To Recap: As long as your post-workout meal has protein and good-quality carbohydrates, you’re helping your body efficiently recover from a workout. These recipes can be adapted to suit your preferences, and when all else fails, a whole-food-based protein bar and piece of fruit can always do the trick. Happy working out!
Megan Monte is in the class of 2020 at Providence College, where she studies English/Secondary Education. Her passions include fitness, traveling, and procrastinating her homework by cooking up something tasty.