8 Best Foods to Eat after a Cardio Session
With the fitness community abuzz with thousands of different green drinks and supplements, it can be hard to separate health facts from fiction. Nutrient dense foods are not only vital to your day-to-day diet, they should be considered a mandatory addition to your post-workout routine. Keep a short list of the following foods on the fridge in order to refresh your memory and inspire you to make the right choices after every cardio session.
- Greek Yogurt: Packed with protein, Greek yogurt makes for a great post-workout recovery snack. The amino acids work to repair muscle tissue plus you have the added bonus of probiotics that support a healthy intestinal tract.
- Berries: Because berries are so high in fiber and liquid, they tend to keep you feeling fuller, longer. Resist the urge to binge, say after a HIIT session when your body is craving nourishment, by choosing the right foods to satiate you and tide you over until dinner. Read about the benefits of blueberries.
- Bananas: You’ve probably already guessed it, but potassium is the banana’s star mineral player and for good reason. Especially beneficial for cardio junkies, potassium helps regulate blood pressure and has even been linked to the prevention of muscle cramps.
- Hemp Protein: By now, you’ve likely heard the importance of sufficient protein intake following a heavy lifting session, but don’t forget about cardio too! You’re still using muscles. Try hemp protein powder in your post-cardio green drinks for tissue repair and growth—not to mention increased energy from the omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids.
- Coconut Oil: Cooking a small meal with coconut oil is ideal due to how easily the fatty acids are absorbed and converted to energy. Sounds great after an exhausting workout, right?
- Leafy Greens or powder: Kale, for example, has only 33 calories per cup yet contains three grams of protein, loads of vitamins (A, C and K), and 2.5 grams of fiber which will keep you feeling full. Adding this or another leafy vegetable to your green drinks or post-workout recovery salad will do wonders for the body and mind—folate actually boots the latter.
- Almonds: A single serving of these nuts provides your body with loads of vitamin E—a natural antioxidant that protects your cells from damaging free radicals and leads to quicker recovery and muscle growth.
- Egg Whites: Another excellent source of protein, egg whites are a versatile snack that are low in calories and void of cholesterol and fat. This means you can load up and treat your muscles to the extra protein while not undoing the hard work you just put in at the gym.
Why not combine these foods into weekly nutrient-packed green drinks? Simply blend the following ingredients, pour into a glass, and enjoy after your next high-intensity cardio routine. Serves one.
- 1.5 – 2 cups water
- Handful of almonds
- 3/4 cup frozen berries
- 2 handfuls of finely chopped kale
- 1/2 banana
Note: If you don’t prefer small chunks of almonds in your smoothie, substitute raw nuts with almond milk. Natural, homemade almond milk is better for you and easier to make than you might think. Also, if you don’t have fresh kale on hand, use a green supplement powder instead for similar benefits.
Knowledge is power, of course. However, when it comes to workout recovery green drinks and simple snacks, it’s also pretty darned tasty.
Photo by Kafeel Ahmed