The Best Post-Workout Snack Ideas

These energizing snacks pack the right nutrients to help you recover from your workout without undoing your calorie burn.

By Diana Kelly
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    Here's a common exercise dilemma:

    It’s a common exercise dilemma: You’re famished after your sweat session, but you don’t want to overdo it and negate all the calories you just burned. A good rule of thumb: Eat about half of what you burned during your workout, fitness expert Dean Anderson told Sparkpeople.com. (If you burn about 300 calories, have a 150-calorie snack). Make it a mix of complex carbs, protein, and some fat, which helps replenish energy stores and repair muscles. These tasty options do the trick.

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    Greek Yogurt, Orange, and Peppers

    Oddly specific, sure, but fitness experts swear by this nutritious combo as a post-workout snack. Vitamin C-rich red peppers and oranges help prevent some of the exercise-induced oxidative stress to your muscles that occurs during intense workout sessions, according to the Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RD, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, on Shape.com. The yogurt contains an energy-restoring mix of carbs and protein.

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    Whole Grain Waffles Topped with Yogurt and Almond Butter

    After a solid exercise session, top a frozen whole-grain waffle with low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt and one tablespoon of almond butter. You’ll be getting an ideal ratio of carbs, protein, and healthy fat in this post-workout snack, according to ACEFitness.org.

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    Tuna on Toast

    Tuna, a lean protein, is an ideal post-workout snack. Drizzle a little lemon juice and olive oil over 4 ounces of water-packed tuna, then spread over a slice of whole wheat bread, said Kristin Reisinger, MS, RD, on Fitnessmagazine.com. “Research shows that carbs and protein together have a better response to post-workout recovery," she said.

    Protein Shake

    There’s a reason fitness buffs swear by them. For the ultimate low-maintenance, no-fuss post-workout snack, toss these in your gym bag, as recommended by CarrotsnCake.com blogger Tina Haupert on Health.com: one scoop of protein powder in a clean, empty water bottle, and an 8-ounce carton of shelf-stable almond milk. After your workout, add the milk or even just water to the bottle, and drink up. Protein powders come in various flavors (vanilla, strawberry, chocolate) so you’re sure to find one you love.

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    Eggs and Hummus

    Slice a hard-boiled egg in half and spread each side with one tablespoon of hummus for a light post-workout snack that’s packed with tasty protein, as recommended by Revolve indoor cycling instructor Kristin Kenney to Prevention.com. Kenney said the yolk contains crucial amino acids that aid in muscle repair. Add chopped chives or red pepper flakes on top for flavor.

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    Cottage Cheese Blueberry Toast

    Spread a half-cup of cottage cheese on millet toast (or whole grain bread) and top with blueberries for a filling post-workout snack that will cut those ravenous post-workout feelings, according to Jessica Matthews, exercise physiologist and senior health and fitness editor for the American Council on Exercise, on Shape.com.

    Simple Trail Mix

    Nibble a quarter-cup of dry roasted nuts for a healthy dose of protein and good-for-you fats. Sports nutrition expert Rebecca Scritchfield, RD, recommends pistachios as a post-workout snack because they’re richer in potassium—an electrolyte you lose through sweat—than most other nuts, according to Prevention.com. Toss them in a zip-top bag with raisins for a portable snack.

    Low-fat Cheese and Fruit

    Haupert also loves pairing low-fat cheese (try individual string cheese or a mini Babybel for a good on-the-go option) with a fiber-rich apple. It’s a quick way to refuel fatigued muscles in a post-workout snack, she told Health.com.

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