7 Perfect Post-Workout Snacks

by MyFitnessPal
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7 Perfect Post-Workout Snacks

Wondering what to eat after a run or other workout? You may not be able to scarf as much food as you might think. We often over-estimate the number of calories we burn during a 1-hour sweat-session, especially if it felt particularly tough. Try these snack and mini-meal ideas from The Runner’s World Big Book of Running for Beginners to refuel without overdoing it.

1. The Meal: 8 oz low-fat chocolate milk + 1 serving fresh fruit | Nutrition: 225 calories, 40g carbs, 9g protein | Health Benefits: Fresh fruit and milk help you rehydrate while providing calcium, vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals.

2. The Meal: 1oz. pretzels dipped in 6oz. low-carb (protein-rich) yogurt | Nutrition: 275 calories, 59g carbs, 12g protein | Health Benefits: Pretzels offer carbs, plus sodium to help replenish electrolytes. Yogurt adds calcium and vitamin D.

3. The Meal: Turkey sandwich that includes 2 slices whole grain bread, 4 thin slices of deli turkey, and veggies | Nutrition: 310 calories, 55g carbs, 17g protein | Health Benefits: The turkey provides protein, while the bread provides nutrients and minerals that support heart health.

4. The Meal: 1 medium banana with 2 tablespoons peanut butter + 8oz. recovery shake | Nutrition: 380 calories, 55g carbs, 12g protein | Health Benefits: The sports drink replenishes electrolytes and fluids. The banana provides potassium to help with muscle contraction. The peanut butter adds healthy fats, plus niacin, which helps recovery.

5. The Meal: 1 whole egg (cooked in a nonstick skillet) on a toasted whole wheat English muffin + 1 cup fresh blueberries 6oz. Greek yogurt | Nutrition: 290 calories, 37g carbs, 21g protein | Health Benefits: Blueberries contain antioxidants that help ease muscle soreness. The yogurt provides calcium and vitamin D to support bone health. The egg provides protein, B vitamins, and choline, which boost immunity.

6. The Meal: Smoothie that includes 8oz. fat-free milk, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 medium banana, 1 tablespoon fat-free chocolate syrup | Nutrition: 340 calories, 55g carbs, 14g protein | Health Benefits: This is easy on the stomach if you can’t tolerate real food after a run. Milk provides calcium and protein. The peanut butter offers healthy fats and niacin. The chocolate syrup adds carbs and a sweet treat.

7. The Meal: 3 cups air-popped popcorn + 8oz. low-fat chocolate milk | Nutrition: 280 calories, 46g carbs, 11g protein | Health Benefits: Popcorn provides carbs, fiber, and iron. Milk provides calcium and carbs. Together they can satisfy your sweet and salty cravings.

*Calories and nutrient counts are estimates based on USDA nutrition database; specific brands may offer nutrient counts that vary slightly from the values listed in the table above.

Update From Our Registered Dietitian:

Many nutrition experts recommend low-fat instead of full-fat dairy because the latter is higher in calories and saturated fat. There is controversy about whether this is the best advice, as research emerges to say that full-fat dairy is not as harmful as we thought and could be beneficial for weight management. The choice between full-fat, reduced-fat, low-fat dairy or no dairy is a personal one. It likely won’t have a huge impact on your health goals if you include dairy as part of a well-balanced, well-portioned diet. Still unsure? Talk to your doctor or dietitian to figure out the best choice for your individual needs.

—Trinh Le, MPH, RD

What’s your go-to, post-workout snack? Tell us in the comments below!


myfitnesspal Big-Book-of-RunningReprinted from The Runner’s World Big Book of Running for Beginners by Jennifer Van Allen, Bart Yasso, and Amby Burfoot with Pamela Nisevich Bede, RD, CSSD. ©2014 by Rodale Inc. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.

The Runner’s World Big Book of Running for Beginners provides all the information neophytes need to take their first steps, as well as inspiration for staying motivated. The book presents readers with tips for smart nutrition and injury prevention and includes realistic training plans that enable beginning runners to achieve gradual progress (by gearing up for a 30-minute run, a 5-K, or even a 5-miler).


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53 responses to “7 Perfect Post-Workout Snacks”

  1. Avatar Nico13 says:

    Another variation on the banana shake – I use frozen pieces of banana and add some frozen yoghurt to semi skimmed milk and a teaspoon of peanut butter; on a hot day it’s extra refreshing.

  2. Avatar Tim smith says:

    Hey Yajaira. Some of them can be depending on what time u work out and the duration intensity of ur workouts (if ur burning a lots of calories and u havent met ur calorie intake from the day u should be good). It also could depend on what type of diet/food plan u are currently on. U might not want a bunch of sugar or carbs late at night if ur not working out in the morning or if u are watching ur overall carb intake.

  3. Avatar Lista210 says:

    1 banana, 1 serving of Danon’s light and fit yogurt (strawberry banana), 8oz fat-free milk, 1 packet instant oatmeal (sugar-free) blended together with ice. Total calories 370 tastes delicious and calms hunger pains

  4. […] 3. The Meal: Turkey sandwich that includes 2 slices whole grain bread, 4 thin slices of deli turkey, and veggies | Nutrition: 310 calories, 55g carbs, 17g protein | Health Benefits: The turkey provides protein, while the bread provides nutrients and minerals that support heart health. Continue Reading… […]

  5. Avatar Donna Berger McKinnon says:

    What are the ingredients in the Recovery shake?

  6. Avatar Carina says:

    I usually have two slices of turkey wrapped in lettuce with a palmful of almonds

  7. Avatar Andree says:

    My fitness pal needs to update its nutrition advise and stop promoting “low fat” foods. Again this week the papers were reporting on recent studies showing that the low fat advise is wrong and that obesity villains are excess carbohydrates and specially sugars and starchy carbohydrates. Most low fat foods have more sugars or salt to make them more palatable due to the reduced fat.

    • Avatar Brockway says:

      Very true

    • Avatar Karen says:

      Low fat, is not great for you.. You take something out, something worse is put in its place! Healthy fat snacks are better! Nuts, 0% total Greek yoghurt, raw peanut butter, not all fats are bad, but artificial sweetness are and it’s usually those that replace fat that’s taken out. Compleat agre with the previous post.

    • Avatar Jeff Ledger says:

      Yup.. Even the “low fat” foods have to be budgeted in your counts to make sure that the sodium levels don’t tilt.

    • Avatar Fit-for-life says:

      I agree. Fats, especially healthy fats such as nuts, avocados, olive, grape seed, and coconut oils, and also whole eggs and whole milk are not our problems. The sugar and carbs are the cause of insulin spikes which increases fat cells. Please update the food suggestions.

    • Avatar Lisank says:

      I beg to defer because even though some low fat foods are not healthy, you still have to keep your fat intake in check. According to my doctor, certain full fat foods such as whole milk are not that great for you. In order to keep bad cholesterol in check, one should avoid foods high in saturated fats and eat foods high in monos and polyunsaturated, which are found in fish and avocado etc. Thrrefore, I understand where fitness pal is coming from because if you eat/drink everything in full fat form, then even though your calories are in check, at the end of the day if you check your macros (which I hope you all do on this app), you will realize that you have consumed way too much saturated fat. Eat full fat tuna or avocado as opposed to full fat milk. There is a big difference and it is eventually better for your heart. Read up and do your research on the fat topic people… And read more than one article on the topic. Also ask a health professional like your doctor. There is a lot more to eating healthy than just counting calories.

      • Avatar BuzzPreston says:

        If you’re still talking about “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol, you need to catch up on YOUR reading. You might want to start by reading The Cholesterol Myth by Dr. Stephen Sinatra.

  8. Avatar Ash007 says:

    I will normally eat some cheese with a fruit

  9. Avatar Lyn Schoo says:

    I make “Power Butter” by combining 1 cup Peanut Butter (any nut butter will work) with 2 Tbs each of Chia seeds and Toasted Flax seeds, stir well and store in air tight container in fridge. A tablespoon of that after, or between, workouts is perfect. I also make my own no-bake granola bars, simple and delicious, they are perfect before a run or while I’m cycling.

  10. Avatar Lisa says:

    I make a protein shake with unsweetened almond milk, teaspoon of cocoa powder, one dash of salt. 1 scoop of protein powder, 2 tablespoons of powdered peanut butter and ice cubes. Blend. Yum.

    • Avatar bernice says:

      Where can u get powdered peanut butter??? I’ve never heard of it before.

      • Avatar Gina Sorrell says:

        It is called PB2. They remove a lot of the fat and 2 Tbsp is only 45 calories (as opposed to 200ish in regular peanut butter. You can use it in shakes, etc in its powdered form, or add water to make it creamy. It used to just be sold in health food stores, but now I’m starting to see it in regular grocery stores. You can probably get it on Amazon, as well.

        • Avatar BuzzPreston says:

          The only benefit of peanut butter IS the fat. When you remove it, your left with just another junk food.

          • Avatar marcia says:

            Exactly BuzzPreston. Like those awful “slimcados”, genetically modified avocados with half the fat. They taste awful and can only be classified as junk.

          • Avatar BuzzPreston says:

            Slimcados? What’s next, low fat lard? Why are Americans so easy to fool? Congress, USDA and the FDA continue to throw up roadblocks to the creation of real food, citing “proprietary” science to back up it’s support of Big Food, Big Pharm, and Wall Street in their quest to reap short term profits at the expense of the health and welfare of the American public. This protection is only one arm of the giant red, white and blue killer squid. It feeds Big Med, which profits immensely from diet related illnesses,(which now exceed communicable diseases in America), as well as providing high paying employment by these industries of retiring Congressmen and Senators to ensure the continuation of the status quo. If the current comatose America does not wake up soon, the result of this madness will most certainly be a Post America World.

          • Avatar Victoria Rejuney says:

            Please put the tinfoil away.

          • Avatar mistyrain says:

            PB2 has some protein and gives smoothies that yummy peanut butter taste without the extra calories and fat. It is not easy to find peanut butter with peanuts and salt as the only ingredients. Most have a lot of junk and unhealthy things added in. I make my own.

      • Avatar Rebecka Jochum Miller says:

        I found it on amazon

      • Avatar RaenS says:

        Peanut flour can also be used as powdered peanut butter and is generally cheaper than PB2.

  11. Avatar Gibbigabs says:

    I’ll have a high fiber cereal or granola with some vanilla yogurt 😛

  12. Avatar Rachel says:

    What are good choices for vegetarians or vegans?

  13. Avatar Malia Warren says:

    I can’t believe myfitpal is advocating for low-fat or fat-free stuff. horrible.

  14. Avatar Thumbs_up says:

    It seems really good. But It is not applied for someone who aims hypertrophy. The amount of protein should be higher depending on your weigth. But made me hungry anyway. 😉

  15. Avatar Superfox12082 says:

    They got the information from Runners World. I think that is where the problem began with these silly snacks…

    • Avatar BuzzPreston says:

      Indeed. The idea of a “post workout recovery snack”, especially a high carb one, is not only silly, it’s counterproductive. The need for it is mental, not physical. Your body will recover/refuel/repair beginning with your next regular meal.

  16. Avatar Alex Mills says:

    3 oatcakes with peanut butter with sliced apple on top with a green tea. Winning combo as a pre or post work out option.

  17. Avatar Mike Hunter says:

    2 scoops of my fave protein powder and a serving of candy or sweets.

  18. Avatar joe says:

    Moar protein!

  19. Avatar Bitter Roots says:

    Bacon. 2 slices, if you really want specifics.

  20. Avatar caz1310 says:

    I dont snack before or after a workout. It negates the hard work done during the workout.

    • Avatar jcgadfly says:

      Glad you can do fasted workouts but I am curious when/if you give your muscles recovery fuel.

    • Avatar BuzzPreston says:

      The idea of a “post workout recovery snack”, especially a high carb one, is not only silly, it’s counterproductive. The need for it is mental, not physical. Your body will recover/refuel/repair beginning with your next regular meal.

      • Avatar Lisank says:

        If you are a serious weight lifter, your muscles get dangerously depleted and you need to restore your carbs and proteins immediately because muscle needs to eat too. It is different if you are a long distance runner but if you task your muscles to the levels that serious lifting does, you will be wasting your time if you do not feed your muscles what it needs to grow. Also if you are watching your daily calories and macros, then the notion that you are reversing your hard work if you eat right before and after a workout, is a myth.

  21. Avatar Tawanna says:

    I eat half a toasted bagel with a little bit of chive cream cheese topped with fresh slices of avocado and a splash of lime juice so yummy sometimess I’ll eat some carrots on the side keeps me satisfied until around 4pm I workout at 6:30 am

  22. Avatar Miata_Mama_TN says:

    1 cup greek yogurt, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup granola

  23. Avatar BuzzPreston says:

    Who’s your nutritionist, Ancel Keyes?

  24. Avatar marcia says:

    My new go-to post workout snack – 8oz plain goat’s whole milk yogurt (best for those who are lactose intolerant) sweetened with a few drops of stevia, with a scoop of whey protein, a tbsp of unsweetened coconut flakes, and a handful of walnuts stirred in.

  25. Avatar Robert Diamond says:

    I like a cup of non-fat Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons PB2 powder, 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa and a teaspoon of agave syrup as an after workout meal.

  26. Avatar Nicole says:

    You are totally correct. Fat does not make you fat sugar does
    And sugar is in all processed carbohydrates not just candy

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