Give yourself a pat on the back—you've just finished an epic session at the gym. But now you're ravenous. So what do you eat after you've been working out? There are many things you might want to eat, but shoving a Mars bar in your mouth post-workout might just make you feel like you're undoing all that good work. And you'd be right. If you don't put the right kind of food in your body, you're not helping it be as strong as possible.
To help, we've looked to our favourite wellness and fitness influencers, who are more than a dab hand at whipping up delicious concoctions in the kitchen post-exercise. From Shona Vertue to Madeleine Shaw, we've found seven secret foods that these fitness experts always turn to after they've been working out. Plus, we've hunted down the science behind why these foods are just so darn good for you. Some will definitely surprise you. Keep scrolling for the best food to refuel with after a workout.
Let's start with the most important one. We all love a treat once in a while, and indulging in a sweet treat after you've done some hard work is a good idea. Nutrition health expert, Dr. Mike Roussell suggests that if you're still looking to splurge a bit when you're training, eat that stuff post-gym. But try sticking to things like dark chocolate à la Clean Eating Alice (here, she's gone for Doisy & Dam's chocolate). Also, it's thought that dark chocolate can aid performance too.
Cottage cheese might seem kind of old-school, but it's great particularly for those who are looking for low-calorie foods that taste great. While eggs are always touted as the go-to food for a post-workout meal, cottage cheese also contains a lot of protein, which is great for keeping you full and for maintaining an "intake of protein also helps preserve muscle while you lose the fat on your weight-loss diet," says Jill Corleone, a registered dietitian and health coach.
You be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't love a sweet potato, but we've heard they do exist. So why is it such an incredible food for when you've been hitting the gym hard? Quite simply, when you exercise, your blood sugar level will drop; this helps to restore that balance and "provide antioxidants and are a nutritionally dense carbohydrate option," advises Stephanie Greunke, a registered dietician.
Not only do peas freeze well (great for when you don't have any fresh veggies in the house), they also contain high levels of vitamin C and protein, in comparison with other vegetables, meaning you'll stay fuller longer.
Salmon is another great food packed with protein that will help you stay full. But it's not just that; salmon also contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce post exercise muscle inflammation.
Okay, perhaps this one isn't so secret, but cast your eye over any fitness expert's Insta feed and you'll spot that they spend a lot of time chowing down on eggs. And it's for good reason. Yes, they contain a lot of protein, but did you also know that they are rich in antioxidants as well as many other body-boosting vitamins such as vitamin A, B12, B2 and B5?
While broccoli is great, cauliflower is amazing at helping to burn fat. We'll be having some of that, thank you very much.