What to Eat After a Run

When you've finished a long or strenuous run, it's important to replace the nutrients that your body has burned during the exercise. Supplementing lost fluids, proteins, and carbs will speed up your recovery time so you're ready for the next run. To make your training most effective, running isn't all there is to it. You need to learn how to eat the right foods at the proper time. This also helps to reduce your risk of injury and sickness. Here are the foods to eat after a run to lose weight and to gain muscle.

What to Eat after a Run to Lose Weight

1.   Greek Yogurt and Fruit

Greek yogurt ranks higher in protein than regular yogurts do, which makes it one of the best options when you wonder what to eat after a run. It contains seventeen grams of protein in six ounces of the low-fat
version. Yogurt is a healthy alternative to meat protein and goes well with fresh fruit. The fruit will replenish carbs and some of the water lost during the run. Choose low or nonfat yogurt for weight loss.

2.   Banana and Almond Butter

Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, an electrolyte that is often expended after a hard, sweaty run. They're also a good carbohydrate. The protein in almond butter, along with its healthy fat, will satisfy your hunger longer, helping overeating to be less likely later on. Go easy on the almond butter because it's high in calories. One tablespoon should be the limit.

3.   Chocolate Milk

Should you feel nauseated after a run, drinking a glass of chocolate milk will go down better than eating something. The perfect ration of protein to carbohydrate in chocolate milk is more rejuvenating than is a carb-only drink. Chocolate milk contains 178 calories (low-fat milk), 32 grams of carbs, and 8 protein grams.

4.   Turkey Sandwich with Hummus on Whole-Wheat Bread

Whole wheat or whole grain bread is a complex carbohydrate which releases slowly into your bloodstream, keeping you full longer and avoiding blood sugar to spike. Hummus can be substituted for mayo which adds protein and a small bit of healthy fat. Use it entirely, or add a thin slice of turkey breast for more low-calorie protein.

What to Eat After a Run to Gain Muscle

1.   Protein Pancakes

To make your own high-protein pancakes that are low in carbs, mix four egg whites with ½ c. cottage cheese, ½ c. old-fashioned rolled oats, 1/8 tsp. baking powder, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Cook as you would regular pancakes and top with banana slices or fresh fruit. The proteins will help you build muscle without adding fat.

2.   Beef and Squash with Marinara

When you're starved after a strenuous run, having this one-dish meal will replenish your carbs and protein. Mix one whole cooked butternut squash with eight ounces of cooked lean beef. Add four ounces marinara sauce, and season to taste. The squash's starchiness will digest slowly, allowing you to feel full longer.

3.   Tuna and Crackers

This simple snack is perfect for those who run during their lunch break at work or who have a long drive home from the gym. Mix a can of tuna with some crushed whole grain crackers, pickle relish, and mustard and season to taste. Spread on whole grain bread, or eat with a spoon. The combination of carbs and protein makes it an ideal choice when it comes to what to eat after a run.

4.   High-Protein Oats

Oats and whey have long been a staple for bodybuilders, but rather
lacking in flavor. The carb-to-protein balance works for those wishing to build muscle as well as those trying to lose weight. To jazz up this combo, mix ½ c. rolled oats with 1-2 scoops of vanilla whey protein powder. Add ½ c. of dried or frozen fruits and slivered almonds. Stir in ½ c. water or skim milk. Let it set in the fridge overnight. Add sweetener and cinnamon if desired.

5.   Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet potatoes are a perfect carb for bodybuilders that digest slowly, keeping energy levels high with just enough insulin increase to build muscle without storing fat. Put some olive oil in a large skillet and add about eight ounces of cooked, diced chicken breast, ½ c. diced apples, ½ c. diced sweet potato, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Add a sprinkle of salt if needed.

6.   Dried Fruit and Nuts

What to eat after a run when there's no time? Keep a baggie of mixed nuts and dried fruits handy to snack on. The nuts are a good source of protein, while the dried fruits will provide quick energy from their simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs are easily digestible and replenish the lost glycogen more quickly than do complex carbs. They keep well, too, allowing you to always have some on hand to eat when needed.

7.   Egg White and Spinach Omelets

Of all whole foods, egg protein is rated as the protein most efficiently used for body growth. Spinach is one of the most alkaline foods, and is packed with iron and phytoecdysteroids. This form of plant steroid has been recently shown to speed up growth of human muscles. Whip up some egg whites, spinach, and milk for a nutritious, protein-filled omelet.

How to Eat Right as a Runner

Since now you know the answer to "what to eat after a run", you may be wondering when and how to eat after a run. If the run is short and not-so-strenuous, try doing it before eating anything, especially in the early morning. For more strenuous workouts, you should eat something so you don't tire too soon.

  • Timing is essential. 30 minutes before a workout, eat carbs that are low fat and low fiber to give you energy without causing stomach upset. Within 20 minutes after the workout, load up on protein and carbs to repair muscle tissue and rejuvenate your energy.
  • Keep well hydrated. Drink plenty of water, and eat fruits and vegetables. They're filled with antioxidants, which boost immunity and muscle recovery. Remember to limit sugars and unhealthy fats.
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