Post-Workout Meal Ideas – 20 Nutritious & Delicious Recovery Foods

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Just as important as breakfast is an essential meal of the day for most people, so to are post workout meals for those who manage to go to the gym. During workouts, the body exhausts all the nutrients that were taken pre-workout.

When all the nutrients are finished, stored glycogen is metabolized to provide the body with energy. The proteins present in the body begin to decline after the workout session and the muscles begin to breakdown. After the workout session, the body is ready to absorb carbohydrates and proteins once again.

Delicious and Effective Post-Workout Meal Ideas

In this article, we are going to discuss 20 different recipes for what to take after a workout. The meals are comprised of a healthy mix of antioxidants, proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins.

1. Chicken Or Bean Burrito With Salsa

This popular Mexican food is helpful when it comes to repairing your damaged muscles. You can combine this with proteins or carbs from rice to help cure aching muscles after a workout session. You can also add guacamole to provide your body with antioxidants.

Veggies, such as mushrooms and pepper, can be added for more nutritional gain. You can also add avocados to get its healthy fats. Pile on the tomato salsa for more antioxidants. Antioxidants help rebuild muscles by destroying harmful radicals. You can also go for the black beans since they are rich in antioxidants.

A study revealed that black beans have more antioxidants per serving compared to other diets such as oranges and cranberries.

2. Gluten-Free Meatballs

The gluten-free meatballs provide the best gluten-free recipe because they are rich in proteins since they are sourced from grass-fed beef and eggs. Gluten-free meatballs form the best form food to eat on their own.

Meatballs are rich in branch chain amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The branched chain amino acids promote protein synthesis in the muscles helping them to repair the broken muscles after a workout session.

3. Coconut Water

Coconut water refers to a liquid that is obtained from young green coconut fruits. The liquid is rich in vitamins, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, antioxidants, and water. The coconut water helps hydrate the body after a workout session in the gym. The water is the richest source of electrolytes such as potassium and sodium. The electrolytes take part in various biological processes such as muscle contraction.

For this reason, it is important to take coconut water after a long workout session when the body has lost a significant amount of water through sweating. Coconut water is superior to other sports drinks that are made of synthetic minerals, vitamins, and processed sugar. It is advisable to purchase pure coconut water that does not contain any form of preservatives or sugars.

4. Grilled Kefir Chicken

Probiotic-rich kefir is full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body after a workout session. It is usually used as an alternative to yogurt. In grilled chicken, it is applied as a tenderizer for the chicken. It can be combined with red chili sauce and honey to provide the mouthwatering grilled chicken that is topped with mozzarella. The chicken can be served with a side salad or veggies.

5. Quinoa-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Quinoa-stuffed poblano peppers contain mainly beans, onions, peppers, and herbs that are rich in antioxidants. The authentic Mexican food is very vegan-friendly and this recipe introduces a fresh twist on the traditional Southwestern dish. The addition of quinoa in combination with black beans rich in proteins provides an excellent balance of carbohydrates and proteins.

6. Wholegrain Breakfast Cereal

The consumption of cereals is good any time of the day. After hitting the gym, it is advisable to consume seeds that are rich in fiber, proteins, and low in sugar. Some of the cereals include the Kashi Golean that contains 30 grams of carbs, 30 grams of proteins, and 10 grams of fiber.

Wholegrain cereals are good for reloading the muscle's energy stores. You can choose to make it a substantial snack, and you can add dairy products like milk or yogurt. Another cereal to take after the workout session is oatmeal. Rich in carbohydrates and fiber., you can improve upon any cereal by topping with a protein-rich ingredient such as almond butter or protein powder.

7. Hummus-Crusted Chicken

Chicken is a good source of lean protein to support your worn-out muscles after a workout session. The proteins support muscle development and support a healthy body weight. A hummus-crusted chicken may also help combat the problem of bone loss.

Chicken is also rich in phosphorus, other essential minerals that support the development of various parts of the body including the teeth, nervous system, bones, and the kidneys. It also has selenium that promotes a healthy metabolic process in the body.

Hummus is also another excellent source of proteins for your body. The proteins help you feel full for long. It also fights cravings and helps balance the blood sugar levels. Hummus is also rich in iron which helps in the transport of blood to rest of the body.

8. Metabolism-Boosting Smoothies

With fresh raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate, and medium banana, this post workout smoothie keeps you healthy after a tiresome training session. The delicious berry is rich in antioxidants that help you detox the liver and boost metabolism process.

While you need to add adequate water to thin, the addition of water depends on your personal preference. You can also prepare post workout smoothies that are made of green tea. Green tea has amazing metabolic properties. When you add certain other additives, you obtain a smoothie that helps boost your energy levels after a workout session.

For these smoothies, you need one fresh lemon, hot water, and a half teaspoon of cinnamon. You can also add a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Brew the ingredients together for five minutes. The smoothie is high in vitamins and proteins that help indulge the body while tasting great.

9. Salmon

Iron salmon is the best choice for you after your workout session. Salmon contains 22 grams of high-quality proteins that help resynthesize your body muscles after a gym session. Salmon is also an excellent source of vitamin D which helps promote a healthy bone mass.

According to a 2010 Osteoporosis International study, vitamin D is involved in the development of the muscle tissues. The study links low vitamin D to a decrease in the muscle strength. You could incorporate salmon into your stir fry recipe to make it taste delicious.

10. Avo-Egg Salad Sandwich

Egg salad sandwiches are the best post workout food. Each medium egg provides you with six grams of proteins. The amino acids contained in the eggs are bioavailable. They are considered the gold standard for protein options.

You can take your egg salad sandwich prepared with hard boiled eggs, chopped chives, and vinegar. To make it healthier, you can add mashed avocado instead of mayo. The egg salad sandwich can be served on a whole-wheat bread together with tomato and lettuce.

11. Cottage Cheese With Fruit And Cereal

Cottage cheese contains the healthiest proteins to calories ratio. One cup of two percent cottage cheese provides your body with 200 calories and 27 grams of proteins! Cottage cheese is also an exceptional source of the amino acid leucine which is an important amino acid when it comes to building the body muscles.

However, leucine requires the presence of insulin to increase protein synthesis. You need both carbohydrates and leucine to raise insulin levels in the blood. You can add one cup of fresh fruit such as strawberries, grapes, or pineapples o supply enough carbs to your body. You can also top it off with one-quarter cup of granola or whole grain cereal.

12. Fruits And Vegetables

Fruits are loaded with easily digestible carbohydrates. They are also rich in enzymes that help the body break down nutrients into forms that can be transported to the worn out muscles after a workout session. Pineapples have anti-inflammatory effects that will help your muscles to recover faster after a tough gym session. Kiwi promotes a healthy digestion process, and it also takes part in the breakdown of amino acids. Fruits are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

According to health experts, a meal that consists of fresh fruit and vegetables can help reduce muscle soreness and damage that is associated with endurance exercise activity. Some of the foods that are recommended by health experts include bananas, tart cherries, and pomegranates.

13. Greek Yogurt With Fruits And Oats

Greek yogurt has twice as many proteins and half the sugars found in regular yogurt. Sweetened Greek yogurt provides you with simple carbohydrates that your muscles crave after a tough workout session. A one cup serving of the Greek yogurt provides your body with 130 calories and 23 grams of proteins.

You can also make a parfait using one cup of the Greek yogurt. The fruits and the oats provide you with antioxidants that help in the destruction of the harmful radicals that are present in the body.

14. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are the go-to superfoods for most athletes. They are an excellent source of plant-based proteins and the omega-3 essential fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids are essential because the body is not able to synthesize endogenously. Omega-3 fatty acids are important to athletes because they help reduce inflammation.

During workouts, the muscles are broken down resulting in the formation of micro-tears and inflammation. The micro-tears makes it necessary for you to rebuild your muscles after a training session.

15. Plant-Based Powders

Proteins that are sourced from plants are another top option for rebuilding the muscles after training in the gym. The plant-based proteins are more alkaline-forming than those from other sources such as meat, eggs, or dairy. Proteins sourced from plants are also low in saturated fats, and they do not contain cholesterol.

Studies have also shown that they provide a smaller carbon footprint. If you are busy, you can select plant-based protein powders. When choosing the protein supplements, ensure that they are derived from more than one plant-based proteins. It should be free from other ingredients such as soy, colors, and artificial flavors among others.

16. Dark Leafy Greens

Antioxidants form the best defense against inflammation after a training session. Superior sources of antioxidants include fruits and vegetables. Vegetables that are dark in color form an excellent source of these antioxidants. Outstanding dark leafy greens for a post workout diet include kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard.

Whether you are focused on strength or endurance, a diet rich in dark leafy greens is an excellent choice. Adding a salad to your post workout meal can help lower the inflammation that is common after having a training session.

17. Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowl

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowls allow you to enjoy a meatless post workout meal. The sweet potatoes provide you with sweetness alongside other nutrients that come from quinoa and the black beans. If you have been looking for a meal that does not contain meat for your post workout diet, then Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowls are the way to go.

18. Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk is an effective source to replace body fluids that get lost during the workout. Chocolate milk contains water to hydrate alongside proteins and carbohydrates to help repair the torn muscles. The water contained in chocolate milk helps quench your thirst thus keeping your body well hydrated. Besides chocolate milk, you can also take pure water for the purpose of keeping your body hydrated after a workout session.

According to, you need to take at least half cup of water after every 15 minutes of exercise. If you are the type of an athlete that exercises intensely, you can also take sports drinks that are rich in electrolytes to help increase your body energy levels.

19. Butternut Squash and Tempeh Tacos

Butternut Squash and Tempeh Tacos are a solid choice if you are a vegan. Studies have shown that Tempeh has twice as many proteins as carbohydrates. The meal is also packed with other nutrients and antioxidants that enable the body to heal faster after an exercise session.

20. Nut Butter Roll-Up

A nut butter roll up makes for an easy and high-protein snack option. You can spread it on a small whole wheat, add some bananas, add a little cinnamon, and then roll it up.

Final Thoughts on Post-Workout Meal Ideas

Eating sufficient amounts of carbohydrates and proteins after a training session is essential. Proteins and carbs stimulate muscle protein synthesis and enhance the process of muscle recovery after training in the gym. It is also important to replenish the electrolytes and body fluids that get lost during the training session.

If you cannot manage to eat within 45 minutes after the training session, make it a habit to at least not exceed two hours before eating a meal. may receive a small reward on product purchases using links within reviews. For optimal transparency, see the full disclosure on how this process works to support our team’s mission of creating Advanced Living for you. content provides generalized information only for education and entertainment. In no way is the content here a substitute for qualified medical advice. Always actively seek a professional dietitian, certified nutritionist, licensed specialist or your doctor for specific consultation before using any supplement our team reviews.

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