So you’re trying to lose weight, get toned, build muscle… all that good stuff. You wake up early, hit the gym, plan your meals, take the stairs, and every other healthy habit you can think of. But you keep hitting one infinite (infinitely annoying) brick wall — the rush of hunger that seems to rear its ugly head every time you finish a particularly blistering sweat routine. Then you overeat, feel bad, and proceed to take your revenge with an even tougher workout next time. Fill in the blank at what happens next.
Yes, the build more-binge more paradox, the crush it-crave it spiral, the crunchtime to munchtown riddle. How can anybody ever make any progress when the harder you workout, the bigger the urge to absolutely decimate all your efforts?
Well, the answer to this is to get a little bit tricky. We can’t change the fact that burning up all those stores of glycogen is going to make our bodies want to replenish it fast (so fast in fact, that we often pass right by satiety on our way to stuffed). So what we’ve gotta do is to work with our desires and with our cravings, and find healthy post-workout snacks that won’t undo what we’ve just done did. So here’s a list of our favorite after-exercise munchies that’ll keep you on your path to health and fitness.
(Slightly) Loaded Steal Cut Oatmeal
The king of all belly-fillers has got to be oatmeal. Versatile as heck, oats are both light and heavy, satisfying and filling, and everything in between. And when you punch it up with some added flavor from fresh fruit, cinnamon, and maybe a tiny drop of peanut butter, you’re in for a delicious treat post workout. Of course, you might want to portion out your toppers before you workout, so that you’ll go easy on all of the additions. After all, berries can turn into chocolate chips, and a few walnuts can turn into a pound of almond butter in no time at all.
Greek Yogurt Parfait
Greek yogurt is a protein-packed post-workout treat that’s perfect for cooling you down, when you’re finished heating up. It also lends itself to all manner of flavor enhancement. It’s equally as good with sweet or savory ingredients, and will also keep you full. Like oatmeal, you want to watch what you’re adding to it (looking right at you, granola). A layered greek yogurt parfait is a fun way to keep your interest in this wonderfood piqued for the long-haul.
Cottage Cheese & Rice Cakes
Yes, the scourge of the 80’s fitness industry is back, and deserves some of our attention. Cottage cheese is another great protein source, and rice cakes now come in a wide variety of fun flavors like white cheddar, buttered popcorn, and everything bagel. When eating these, it’s good to see them for what they are, and what they’re not. Rice cakes are an excellent, low-calorie platform with which to carry yummy toppings, not a meal unto themselves. Plus, with a couple fresh toppings like tomatoes or edamame, and some sea salt and pepper flakes thrown in the mix, this will surely delight your taste buds without derailing your progress.
Grilled Chicken (or Tofu) Wraps
These are easy to make before your workout, and even easier to grab and munch down on. Grill up some chicken, tofu, or other protein source, and combine with fresh raw vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, and spinach, and wrap in a pita, lavash, or any other edible container. For some yumminess, a little hummus or tzatziki will go a long way.
Scrambled Eggs & Whole Grain Toast
One of the best post-workout treats also happens to be one of the simplest. Scrambled eggs, which we all know of as one of the most perfect proteins there is, atop dry whole grain toast. The beauty of scrambled eggs is that you don’t have to do too much to make this dish delicious – some chives, a couple shrooms, or a bit of avocado really help. Just stay away from using butter or the other breakfast faves like bacon or hash browns and you should be right as rain.
Like a couple of other entries in our list, the devil’s in the details with this one. A good ole protein shake can go from healthful to dangerous in a matter of ingredients. You’ll want to throw in some frozen strawberries or blueberries, ½ a banana, and some protein powder in an almond milk base. You can also throw in some sneaky spinach or kale for some vitamins, and PB2 peanut butter powder is a great way to get that peanut butter flavor minus all the fat and calories.
And, to help you out even more, check out SSoD Founder, Cat Kom’s, step-by-step instructions on how to make a delicious, nutritious DIY Protein Shake in 2 Minutes or Less!
Grilled Salmon & Rice
This one’s easy to make beforehand and refrigerate. Some grilled salmon, or other lean fish, over some steamed rice is a great way to replenish your energy stores cleanly. Brown or white rice will do, and make for a nice carb to support your fish feast.
Another great make-beforehand meal is an egg frittata bite. These oven-baked treats are made with your choice of healthy veggies like broccoli, spinach, or peppers, with some scrambled eggs poured on top. You can even add a bit of shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top for extra flavor. Heat them up after your sweat session, and you’re good to go.
One key point to remember when dealing with the perfect post-workout snack is that it’s always more about your mindset than what you’re putting in your tummy. A healthy treat can quickly become not-so-healthy if you’re bewildered by cravings. So make a point to plan your snack-attacks for immediately after you’re done exercising, munch down without regret, and then be done with it.
Now that we’ve got all the after-workout fuel straightened out, it’s time we mention the best way to burn that fuel up: with a 7-Day Free Trial with Studio SWEAT onDemand! We’ve got a huge library of onDemand workouts that can be done anywhere, anytime, on any device. And with virtual fitness classes like Indoor Cycling, TRX, HIIT, Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, Barre, Bootcamp, and others, it’s no wonder we were named ‘Best Fitness App for Variety’. Sign up today, and we’ll give you something to snack about!