Exercise and diet play an equal part in living a healthy lifestyle, staying fit, boosting your mental health and preventing illnesses and disease. The two work together to keep our bodies and minds young and healthy, but, you have to get the balance right. What you eat can have a significant effect on the quality of your workouts.

Most of us put a lot of thought into what we eat before we hit the gym. Aiming for something light and energy boosting. But do we give much thought to what we eat after exercise?

We finish our workouts, grab a shower and change out of our athleisure and suddenly find that we are starving. It’s all too easy to grab the first thing to hand, but then it’s hard to stop. You might spend the rest of the day hungry, overeat at meals, and find yourself reaching for sweet snacks to calm your hunger and boost your energy levels. Instead, why not try some of these perfect post-workout foods.

A Fruit Salad & Protein

If you ate a meal before you hit the gym, you might not fancy a full meal as soon as you get home. A fruit salad with Greek yogurt and nuts can be perfect. It’s quick, easy and light, but packed with energy to help you to recover. 

An alternative to a fruit salad is a protein powder based smoothie. One option, whey protein, is very bioavailable. Alternatively, I use collagen peptides as it doesn’t spike my blood sugar as a type 1 diabetic and it’s dairy-free. This is especially great if you practice a fasted workout and need a quick protein hit.

Grilled Chicken and Steamed Vegetables

Grilled chicken and steamed veg can be perfect if you need a meal. Packed with protein and nutrients, they’ll help your body to recover, give your metabolism a boost and help your immunity cope with the extra pressures of exercise. If you are starving, add some root vegetables and don’t shy away from some healthy olive oil. 

Eggs on Toast

Eggs are always a great thing to eat. Perfect and easy. Eggs are packed with high-quality protein and are exceptionally filling. Team with sourdough toast, or better yet, toasted sweet potato cylinders, for a quick and healthy carb boost. Add some avocado for extra nutrition.

Oatmeal with Nut Butter

Oats offer an incredibly slow release burn. Combined with nut butter, this duo will help you to feel full for longer. Banana pancakes make a great alternative, simply mash 1 banana with two eggs. Cook in a skillet with a little coconut oil or grass-fed butter for ~3 minutes each side and serve with a dollop or drizzle of your favorite nut butter.

Whatever you decide to eat, try to do it within 45 minutes of finishing your workout, especially if you have practiced a fasted workout, which can have massively beneficial effects on your weight loss and fitness goals.