Why you need to eat 30 minutes after your run, and what to eat for best recovery. Kim McDevitt, MPH, RD and fellow runner has the scoop.
Beyond hitting all your scheduled workouts, there are other components of your running plan that are every bit as crucial, including stretching, strength training and nutrition. To improve both your race times and fitness level, it’s important to realize that what you eat (and when!) matters.
Your critical refuel window is up to 30 minutes after you sweat it out. It’s best to reach for fluids – to restore what was lost in sweat – as well as a mix of both carbohydrates and protein. When choosing snacks aim for a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein to best aid recovery.
Motivate yourself to refuel properly with my go-to post workout snacks:
1. Banana Boat
Simply grabbing a piece of fruit is a smart way to get started with your recovery. Fruits are loaded with vitamins and minerals, natural enzymes, anthocyanins (powerful chemicals providing anti-inflammatory support) and easily digestible carbohydrates. Bananas are an effortless choice which can help replace lost potassium. Make a banana boat by slicing open a banana length-wise. Fill with almond butter and raisins or chopped nuts to make it a quick, complete recovery snack.
2. The Summer Fruit: Watermelon
Hydration is key post-workout but skip the highly processed, sugary sports drinks and choose a natural juice that will provide electrolytes, replenish glycogen and reduce inflammation. WTRMLN WTR is becoming a popular recovery drink – thanks to research showing its ability to relieve post-exercise muscle soreness due to the amino acid L – citrulline present in the fruit. With its high level of electrolytes – 6x more than your average sports drink – this juice is great on its own or blended into a smoothie. Try combining WTRMLN WTR, frozen berries,1 scoop protein powder and ice.
3. Vanilla Vegan Oat Protein Balls
Raw nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, are a great post-run snack thanks to high doses of both protein and satiating omega-3 healthy fats. Try making a batch of homemade vegan protein balls for post-run growlies. Recipe here on Vega’s Recipe Center featuring Vega Sport Performance Protein.
4. Avocado Toast
Avocados contain over 20 key nutrients including B vitamins, choline, copper, zinc and healthy fats. The nutrients in avocado can support everything from cardiovascular health, weight management, and inflammation. Include half an avocado in your post-run snack, such as blended into a recovery smoothie or smashed on a piece of whole grain toast.
5. Quinoa Cereal
Whole grains offer carbohydrates and fiber and consuming them will help replenish your fatigued muscles. Oatmeal is a great option as is whole grain bread but quinoa is an even better choice thanks to the high amount of protein it offers per serving. Store a large batch of cooked quinoa in your refrigerator and serve ½ cup servings onto salads, as a side dish or as a breakfast. To make quinoa cereal, top cold cooked quinoa with chopped fresh and/or dried fruit, chopped nuts, and a drizzle of honey. Top with organic yogurt or non-dairy milk.
Originally appeared at LiveStrong.com
About the author:
Kim McDevitt, MPH, RD
A runner, cooking enthusiast and plant-focused flexitarian, Kim McDevitt has passionately built her career in nutrition. Noticing that her running performances were closely tied to what she was eating, Kim decided to study nutrition and pursue advanced degrees in Dietetics and Public Health, to better understand the power of food in performance. Today, Kim specializes in sports nutrition to enhance athletic performance and focuses on realistic and approachable ways for improving health through educated dietary choices within an active lifestyle.
Photo credit Flickr/NathanRupert