12 Delicious Options To “Mix Up” Your Post-Workout Meal
Without protein in your post-workout meal, your muscles won’t grow, you’ll lack energy, and it will take longer for your body to recover.
Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on July 9, 2023
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Your body burns up a lot of energy and calories during a good workout, so it’s no wonder if you feel absolutely ravenous!
You deserve to treat yourself, but it’s also important to get the protein you need in your post-workout meal to recover quickly and get the maximum benefits from all your hard work.
During a workout, you create tiny tears in your muscles.
Protein is essential for repairing those tears.
It also supports muscle growth and fat loss, which is why you’re working out in the first place.
Grabbing fast food or junk food after your workout actually hinders your progress.
So, whether you’re rocking it at the gym on leg day or busting out some high-intensity interval training, scarfing down some protein afterward is key.
Here are our favorite options for mixing up your post-workout meal so you can conquer your cravings and give your body what it needs, too.
12 Options To “Mix Up” Your Post-Workout Meal
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Protein and Meal Replacement Drinks
Protein and meal replacement drinks are a fantastic option for your post-workout meal and a great way to get your protein at the same time.
They include all the nutrition you would expect from a complete meal, so they’re ideal for refueling after a tough workout.
In addition to protein, high-quality meal replacements include amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
They’re also available in vegan-friendly, gluten-free options, so there’s something for everyone.
As an added bonus, they’re portable and come in a variety of delicious flavors.
What more could you ask for?
Greek yogurt packs about seventeen grams of high-quality protein in just one cup, so it’s the ideal post-workout meal for muscle repair, growth, and recovery.
Not only that, greek yogurt also has fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt, making it a good option for those wanting to lose weight.
In addition, greek yogurt is a great source of calcium – a very important mineral for bone and teeth health.
Maintaining an adequate calcium intake is pivotal, especially for people who exercise regularly.
Eggs are a go-to protein source for good reason.
You’ll get six grams of high-quality protein per egg and they’re incredibly versatile no matter what time of day.
In fact, eggs are considered to be a complete source of protein, which means that they pack all 9 amino acids that are necessary for your body to function properly.
Not only that, but eggs also contain a variety of minerals and vitamins.
Vitamin B12, which you can only get from a handful of other foods, as well as vitamins A, D, E, and K, in addition to minerals like phosphorus, selenium, and iron.
So, pack yourself some hard-boiled eggs as your post-workout meal, or make yourself a veggie-filled omelet to keep things interesting.
Protein bars have come a long way in recent years and many of them are truly delicious.
There are endless flavors and textures to choose from and they’re easy to toss right into your gym bag.
Look for low-sugar options that are high in protein, fiber, and complex carbs to eat as your post-workout meal.
Green peas are a healthy and delicious source of protein with eight grams per serving, making them a great option for a post-workout meal.
They’re a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as vitamins B1, B6, and B9.
Not only that, but green peas also pack a good amount of fiber, which supports healthy bowel health and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Furthermore, green peas are rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in your body, which in turn lowers the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Green peas can be eaten as a side dish, but they’re also delicious tossed into a salad or turned into a tasty pesto.
Edamame is delicious, and it’s packed with protein, healthy fats (such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids), and fiber.
Fiber and protein found in these soybeans can really help your body to regulate blood sugar levels as well.
By slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates during digestion, fiber, and protein prevent support glycemic control and prevent rapid blood sugar spikes.
Keeping a bag of dry-roasted edamame is a great way to ensure that you always have a healthy, high-protein snack available as your post-workout meal.
Eat it as a nutty snack or toss it on top of a salad for some extra nutrition.
Not only is peanut butter packed with protein, but it’s also extremely versatile.
For your post-workout meal, spread it on some whole-grain crackers, fruit, or a rice cake… or eat it right out of the jar.
This calorie-dense food is also loaded with healthy, unsaturated fats to satisfy your hunger and give you an energy boost, too.
And don’t forget that it’s loaded with antioxidants, which protect your cells from free radicals, as well as reduce chronic disease risk.
However, when choosing peanut butter, it’s important to go for the minimally-processed, natural products, since many peanut butter varieties found in grocery stores contain hydrogenated oils, added sugars, and way too much salt.
Many of us don’t think of cottage cheese as a healthy protein source, but this forgotten gem packs 20 grams of protein per serving, making it one of the best options for your post-workout meal.
Not only does it contain a huge amount of protein in one serving, but it also has all the essential amino acids required for the proper functioning of the body.
Furthermore, cottage cheese is a suitable source of protein for those who are lactose intolerant, and some varieties of cottage cheese contain probiotics, which contribute to better gut health.
It’s great on its own or paired with fruit, on top of a salad, or as a simple side dish with almost any meal.
Tuna fish sandwiches aren’t just for kids.
Tuna packs sixteen grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving.
Even better, that same serving only has seventy calories and half a gram of fat.
To make a quick and healthy post-workout meal, spread some tuna on whole-grain crackers, make a tuna salad bowl with lettuce and avocado, or try a tuna melt for a little variety.
In addition to being packed with heart-healthy fiber, beans can pack as much as twenty grams of high-quality protein per one-cup serving.
They’re also low-fat, vegan-friendly, and super versatile.
Mix them into chili, tacos, salad, or rice… the options for your post-workout meal are practically endless.
Hummus is made from chickpeas, and you can make it yourself or find it pre-made at just about any deli.
It comes in a variety of flavors and makes a great dip for pretzels, pita chips, whole-grain crackers, or veggies.
If you’re craving a crunchy snack as your post-workout meal, hummus is a great choice because it contains five grams of protein per serving, as well as some healthy fats, and it doesn’t have a ton of calories.
Chicken is an easy go-to protein for your post-workout meal as it helps your body build muscle and speeds up recovery.
Preparation options are endless, from rotisserie chicken at the deli to diced chicken breast tossed in a salad or a burrito.
Of course, you can also serve it as the main course with any meal.
While commitment and strength are vital to any training program, nothing can replace proper nutrition.
Without protein after your workout, your muscles won’t grow, you’ll lack energy, and it will take longer for your body to recover.
Fortunately, there are lots of great protein sources available, so you can mix things up as much as you like.
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