If you're anything like me, you love having some sort of snack after a workout. Post workout is an ideal time to eat a small meal with both protein and carbohydrates to help repair and build muscles and replenish your energy stores, respectively. It's best to eat within 60 minutes of finishing a workout because that's when your muscles are most receptive.
Here are some of my favorites:
Chocolate milk is an awesome post-workout snack and it's delicious, too. I like Organic Valley chocolate milk served ice cold after I go for a long run or do a power Vinyasa class. I pour it over a large glass of ice and savor it as I cool off. Research also shows that drinking chocolate milk after a strenuous workout may help lessen muscle damage and aid in recovery.
Strawberries and Cream
The cream is healthy Greek yogurt sweetened with stevia. I love Fage 2% Greek yogurt mixed with a small dash of stevia (or sweetener of your choice) topped with sliced strawberries. Or you can make a dip and swirl each strawberry in it. Greek yogurt is loaded with proteinâbetween 15 and 20 grams per container depending on the brand and sizeâand strawberries have antioxidants that can also protect your cells against damage.
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Bananas are chock full of potassium which helps keep your muscles from cramping. Potassium is the main electrolyte that powers muscles and adding it to a whey protein shake makes for an amazing recovery drink. Whey's amino acids are quickly absorbed by muscles boosting recovery and growth. I make mine with 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 1 frozen banana, ice, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
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Strong & KindÂ Roasted Jalapeno Bar
This newÂ bar from Kind has 10 grams of protein and it's made with 100% whole ingredients: almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, pea crisps (made with pea protein isolate), and spices. The jalapeno flavor has a great kick to it and there's no weird, chalky artificial taste like some protein bars have. Almonds are a good source of vitamin E and antioxidants which can help fight damage caused by inflammation. I find this bar is perfect after a strength-training workout as I always crave something savory after a good sweat. Great for when you're on the road and need to pack something with you easily.
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Kristin McGee is a leading yoga and Pilates instructor and healthy lifestyle expert based in New York City. She is an ACE certified personal trainer who regularly trains celebrity clients in New York and Los Angeles. She serves as Healthâs contributing fitness editor and is frequently seen on national TV. Her latest in a large collection of fitness DVDs is YogaSlim. Follow her on Twitter @KristinMcGee and like her page on Facebook.