I often have women in my fitness classes ask what they should be eating after their exercise program. My reply is always the same, protein and carbs. Protein supplies the amino acids that the body uses to feed, build and replenish every cell. Carbohydrates are converted to sugar and then used as fuel for energy. Even candy can be used to fuel the body, but it lacks the vitamins and nutrients of foods such as fruits, vegetables, brown rice or dairy products.
If you are watching your weight and fat intake, it’s best to choose foods that are lower in fat content. The meals below are easy to make and very enjoyable to eat.
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts and Veggies
There are so many ways to prepare chicken breasts, but after a workout, keep it light and remember sauces add calories. A great source of protein, this favorite has nearly 35 grams in a four-ounce serving. It’s rich in niacin and Vitamin B, as well as containing some other good stuff like calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. For your veggies, choose from a variety like bell pepper, carrots, half sweet potato, spinach or tomato.
Tuna with Brown Rice
When I began working out, I was introduced to this bodybuilder’s choice for a post-workout meal. Tuna is an excellent food because it is very high in protein, a whopping 42 grams in a regular sized can. The brown rice adds fiber and carbs, top off with a few veggies for a meal that is high in everything you need to keep building cells.
Steak and Sliced Tomato
The body immediately absorbs steak protein, which is why it’s a good choice for your after-workout meal. Red meat helps to maintain an active metabolism however it is higher in fat, so go with a small portion. Tomatoes will provide fiber and aid in digestion, especially with red meat.
Salmon with Spinach and Sweet Potato Slices
A colorful trio of high quality protein and omega-3’s accompanied by high fiber veggies loaded with vitamins A, B and C and Beta-carotene. For an extra kick of antioxidants garnish the sweet potato slices with slivers of dark chocolate in place of butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon to create a comfort food that is sure to warm the senses.
Make with low fat or fat free Greek yogurt, your choice of berries, a half of a banana and some low-fat or fat-free milk. It tastes yummy, and makes a refreshing snack or meal after exercise.
~ Karen Ficarelli
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