Healthy Post-Workout Foods to Fuel Your Fitness Routine (Meals, Snacks + Drinks)

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Healthy Post-Workout Foods to Fuel Your Fitness Routine (Meals, Snacks + Drinks)

You just crushed another killer jump rope workout in the Crossrope App

Now it’s time to fuel up. 

If you’re wondering what to eat after a workout, you’ve come to the right place. 

We asked personal trainers + registered dieticians to share their favorite post-workout meals, drinks, and snack ideas. 

We have everything you need to build healthy post-workout meals right here in this list and straight from the experts

The best part is, we’re going to spare you the lengthy life stories and family diaries that usually come with recipe posts (you’re welcome). 

Make sure you bookmark this article and come back to try all these delicious workout recovery foods! 

Here’s a quick list of all the recipes in this post so you can jump to what catches your eye: 

Post-Workout Meals:

  1. Tuna + Chickpea + Kale Salad
  2. Mango Chicken + Cilantro Lime Rice + Avocado Salsa
  3. Ground Turkey + Sweet Potato Lettuce Wraps

Post-Workout Drinks:

  1. Sneaky Green Smoothie
  2. Red Velvet Cheesecake Energy Smoothie
  3. Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Banana Smoothie
  4. Power Green Smoothie

Jump to Post-Workout Snacks

Ok, we’re all hungry so let’s jump in! 

Post-Workout Meals

1. Tuna + Chickpea + Kale Salad

post workout meal

Ok, first of all — yum. 

This quick and easy salad is a nutritional powerhouse from Mary Ellen Phipps, the registered dietitian nutritionist behind Milk & Honey Nutrition

Ingredients:

  • One 5 oz can of tuna
  • One 15 oz can of chickpeas (no salt added) rinsed and drained
  • Two cups of chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup of avocado mayonnaise

Directions: 

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix them together.
  • Divide and serve. 

This salad is an excellent option for weekend meal prepping and can last in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

Why This Is A Good Post-Workout Meal

  1. Kale is loaded with vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, K, B6, C and iron, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants. It’s also an excellent source of protein and fiber
  1. Chickpeas are a fantastic plant-based protein and complex carbohydrate. They’re full of fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. 
  1. Of course, tuna is chalked full of protein, as well as vitamin A, B, and D, iron, selenium, phosphorus, and essential omega-3 fatty acids
  1. Choosing a plant-based fat source (like avocado oil) for mayonnaise helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamins like the vitamin A found in the kale. It also protects against post-meal blood sugar spikes or drops. 

Personal Trainer Pro Tip: A post-workout meal should be balanced with complex carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats. Fill much of your plate with vegetables and add 35 grams or more of carbs and 25 grams or more protein.

2. Mango Chicken + Cilantro Lime Rice + Avocado Salsa

best post workout meal

 

This next post-workout meal comes from Rachel MacPherson, the Certified Personal Trainer (ACE) and Exercise Nutritionist behind Radical Strength

Rachel’s recipe creates 4 meals, making it ideal for meal prepping.

Ingredients for the Chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 mango chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Rice: 

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (200g)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice (1-2) limes
  • 1 teaspoon of lime zest
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped

Ingredients for the Salsa: 

  • 1 mango peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1 avocado pitted and cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup red onion diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

For the Chicken & Mango Sauce

  • Add the coconut milk and mango to a blender or Nutribullet and purée until smooth and mixture into a baking dish.
  • Add chicken breasts, sprinkle cayenne pepper on top.
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for an hour to overnight.
  • When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place marinade aside to turn into a sauce later.
  • Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste and bake in a baking dish for 30 minutes or until browned
  • While the chicken is baking, add the remaining marinade to a small saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Cilantro Lime Rice

  • Rinse the rice in a sieve or fine colander for a few minutes with cool water
  • In a medium saucepan, add the rice, bay leaves, and chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • After the rice reaches boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, cover and rest for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaves, squeeze in the lime juice, add lime zest, salt, and cilantro.
  • Stir to combine.

For the Mango Avocado Salsa

  • Combine the mango, avocado, red pepper, jalapeño, red onion, lime juice, and cilantro.
  • Mix well without mashing the delicate mango and avocado.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and cumin.

Why This Is A Good Post-Workout Meal

  1. Not only are mangoes summery + fresh, but they’re also loaded with vitamin C, A, B6, and K, as well as potassium and folate.
  1. Chicken breast is your low-fat protein and is one of those foods that help muscle recovery. 
  1. Avocados are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, B-6, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Personal Trainer Pro Tip: Although most of the calories in an avocado come from fat, don’t shy away! Avocados are full of healthy, beneficial fats that help to keep you full and satiated. When you consume fat, your brain receives a signal to turn off your appetite, making it one of the best foods to eat post-workout.

3. Ground Turkey + Sweet Potato Lettuce Wraps

workout recovery foods

Source: Tips In The Kitch

Not only is the post-workout meal fast, but it's also super healthy and great for weight loss. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of avocado oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1  jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle paste
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, or more to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of oregano
  • Lettuce of choice for serving
  • Fresh cilantro as garnish
  • Sliced  jalapeño for serving
  • Salsa for serving

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add turkey and cook, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until fully cooked.
  • Add onion, garlic, jalapeño, chipotle paste, and spices; cook another 2-3 minutes
  • Reduce heat to medium, and add chicken broth and sweet potatoes; give it a stir and cook another 7-8 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. You can add a lid for the last few minutes to help cook those potatoes. 
  • Swerve warm in lettuce cups with fresh cilantro, jalapeños, and salsa

Why This Is A Good Post-Workout Meal

  1. Turkey is high and protein and will keep you feeling full and helps build lean muscle.
  1. Sweet potatoes are nutritious, high in fiber, very filling, and delicious. They’re also full of beta carotene, vitamin C, and potassium.

Post-Workout Drinks

1. Sneaky Green Smoothie

Post workout drinks

 

Yes, we know the picture isn’t green — that’s where the sneaky comes in.

If you’re not a fan of green smoothies, the Sneaky Green Smoothie, brought to you by Tami Smith, Certified Personal Trainer (ACE), might be just what you need. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 cup milk of choice (Tami uses almond milk)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Directions: 

  • Add spinach and milk to the blender FIRST and blend. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again.

By blending the spinach and milk first, your smoothie will be a bright, delicious purple color, and you won't detect the spinach at all! 

It might be your new favorite post-workout drink. Thanks for the tip, Tami! 

Why This Is A Good Post-Workout Drink

  1. Spinach is a superfood. You’re getting a ton of iron, calcium, and magnesium with spinach for practically no calories. 
  1. Berries are one of the best foods to eat post-workout. They’re loaded with antioxidants, high in fiber, packed with vitamins, and can help reduce inflammation. 
  1. Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and they provide fiber, iron, and calcium. They have also been shown to support a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

2. Red Velvet Cheesecake Energy Smoothie

post workout recovery drink

Source: Radical Strength

You read that right. We said Red Velvet Cheesecake. 

It sounds too good to be true, but it’s an extremely healthy post-workout drink. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 roasted beet
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 5 pitted dates soaked if necessary
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, or silken tofu for vegan
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Directions: 

  • To roast beets, set the oven to 425 degrees F. Prick beets with a fork and wrap them in aluminum foil. Roast for 45 minutes. Let the beet cool for 20 minutes and peel. 
  • Blend all the ingredients together

To make the topping, combine:

  • 2 tbsp light cream cheese or silken tofu for vegan
  • 4 tbsp almond milk 
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup or stevia drops

Mix together and swirl on top of your smoothie. Add cacao nibs or chocolate shavings if desired.

Why This Is A Good Post-Workout Drink

  1. Beets are packed with essential nutrients, and are a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. 
  1. Dates are a great source of natural sugar making them an excellent alternative to empty-calorie sweets. They can also prevent inflammation and are high in fiber. 
  1. Cottage cheese has long been a favorite among athletes and people trying to watch their weight. Cottage cheese is rich in protein, relatively low in fat, and high in calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin A. 

3. Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Banana Smoothie

best post workout drinks for weight loss

Source: Hleap Nutrition

Here’s a classic, but another good post-workout drink for weight loss and muscle recovery. This recipe comes from Claudia Hleap, MS, RD, LDN. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (Claudia uses OYWN)
  • 1/2 a banana
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 cup milk of choice (Claudia uses unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

Directions: 

  • Blend + fuel up

Why This Is A Good Post Workout-Drink

  1. Bananas are going to give you the carbs you need for rapid post-workout recovery
  1. Pairing bananas with the protein powder and peanut butter is perfect for getting the amino acids to repair and build muscles.  
  1. This combo can also help ease muscle soreness.

Personal Trainer Pro Tip: Build your smoothies with healthy fats, antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables to maximize nutrient density.

4. Power Green Smoothie

best post workout recovery drink

Source: Amanda Izquierdo

When in doubt, think green for the best post-workout recovery drink. This next smoothie comes from Amanda Izquierdo, MPH, RD, LDN. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut or almond butter
  • 3 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/4 cup of avocado 
  • 1 tablespoon of instant coffee
  • 3 tablespoons of rolled oats
  • 3 ice cubes
  • A dash of cinnamon

Directions

  • Blend + fuel up.

Why This Is A Good Post-Workout Drink

  1. Avocados are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, B-6, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  1. Bananas are going to give you the carbs you need for rapid post-workout recovery
  1. Spinach is a superfood. You’re getting a ton of iron, calcium, and magnesium with spinach for practically no calories.

Post-Workout Snack Ideas

healthy post workout snacks

Source: Nick Barbaros

Looking for post-workout snack ideas? To satisfy your munchies, go for a snack with carbs + protein. These types of snacks will replenish the glycogen in your muscles. 

Here are a few ideas for quick and easy post-workout snacks: 

  • Nuts like almonds or cashews
  • Glass of chocolate milk
  • Graham crackers + single serve Greek yogurt
  • Handful of crackers + 1 packet/can tuna
  • Your favorite fruit + 1-2 hard-boiled eggs 
  • Pita bread with hummus
  • Avocado toast 

Or you could try this delicious post-workout snack recipe from Radical strength:

Chocolate Banana Protein Muffins

post workout snack for weight loss

Source: Radical Strength

These muffins will blow your mind. Seriously. No oil, no flour (except the ground oats), no white sugar. But they are SO delicious, moist, and chocolatey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of sweetener (Rachel uses Lakanto)
  • 1/3 cup applesauce unsweetened
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup your choice of flour (oat, gluten-free, whole wheat, all-purpose, or whatever your heart desires)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Directions: 

Whisk the wet ingredients and sweetener together:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sweetener (I use Lakanto)
  • 1/3 cup applesauce unsweetened
  • 1 cup mashed bananas about 3
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour (oat, gluten-free, whole wheat, all-purpose) (combination of any flours you like)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder chocolate, vanilla, banana
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine until just mixed, don’t over mix them! Then fold in the chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Over To You

What are some of your favorite workout recovery foods? Make the comment section look like your go-to post-workout recipe book. 

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