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What to eat when hungry after a workout

September 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Maybe you did 30 minutes on the treadmill, maybe some strength training followed. Your body has used up its immediate energy stores and is in need of some fuel fast. So what you eat and when you eat it makes a difference in how you'll feel.The first rule of thumb is to give yourself something with a bit of carbohydrate and protein within 30 minutes after exercising.

The carbohydrates will help provide immediate energy, while the protein can be utilized to repair muscles after the workout. It could be something as fast and easy as a tub of yogurt or fruit, or a handful of nuts. It's quick and painless.

A carbohydrate like sweet potatoes, lentils, brown rice or whole-grain pasta are helpful for a few reasons, as the fiber slows digestion and helps regulate the release of insulin. Since potassium and magnesium are lost through sweating, foods like sweet potatoes and potatoes with skins help replace those needed minerals.

Lean protein is a must to restore muscles after your gym session. Good examples are tuna, black beans, chicken breast, roast beef, even a filling egg will work. Runners need about 60 to 90 grams of protein a day, while others average about 50 grams -- although height, weight, age and activity level are all factors.

An Olympic favorite after a workout is a turkey or chicken sandwich because it contains both carbohydrate and protein together and again, something super-easy to assemble.

And while it's common to stoke up on energy bars and drinks, a 2006 study reveals chocolate milk can be twice as effective as the bars and drinks on the market. It's quick and easy and has ample carbohydrate and enough protein to give your body what it needs.

 

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