Whether you enjoy running recreationally, competitively, or as part of your overall wellness goals, it’s a great way to improve your heart health. Though much attention is centred around what to eat before running, what you eat afterward is equally important.
Depending on your goals, such as weight loss, muscle gain, or completing a long-distance run, different foods can offer various benefits.
Here Are The Best Foods To Eat After Running
10. Pea protein powder
If you have dietary restrictions or follow a plant-based diet, pea protein powder is an excellent alternative to milk-based powders.
Supplementing with pea protein powder offers a convenient way to increase your protein intake. While research on the effects of pea protein on muscle repair and recovery in endurance athletes is lacking, it has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis the process of building muscle — to a similar extent as whey protein.
In an 8-week study in 15 people undergoing high-intensity training four times per week, they were consuming pea protein before or after exercise produced outcomes similar to those of whey protein in regards to muscle thickness and strength.
9. Cottage cheese and fruit
Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein and calcium. One cup (226 grams) of low-fat cottage cheese provides 28 grams of protein and 16% of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium.
Cottage cheese is also high in sodium; an electrolyte lost in sweat during exercise. Top cottage cheese with fresh berries, peach slices, or melon chunks or balls for additional antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
8. Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables
Chicken is a high-quality, lean protein. A 4-ounce (112-gram) chicken breast packs 27 grams of protein, which is more than enough to start the muscle-rebuilding process after running.
However, this poultry can be rather bland by itself, so have a side of roasted vegetables with your grilled chicken. Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, and asparagus are prime candidates. Add olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste for extra flavour.
7. Whey protein shake
Protein shakes have been around for decades and are the go-to choice for many people looking to build muscle. Though there are several types of protein powder, whey protein is one of the best options for muscle building after a run.
Your body digests and absorbs this milk-based protein quickly. Compared with other types of protein powder, such as casein or soy, whey protein packs more of the nine essential amino acids; your body needs to jumpstart the muscle-building process
In a blender, mix 1–2 scoops of whey protein with water until smooth. If you want to bump up the calorie and protein content, use milk instead of water. Add some frozen fruit or nut butter for extra nutrition and flavour.
6. Chocolate milk
Chocolate milk happens to be a perfect post-run drink. It’s loaded with high-quality protein and fast-digesting carbs for muscle recovery and energy refuelling.
Similarly to many commercial exercise-recovery drinks, low-fat chocolate milk has a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio.
One 5-week study in adolescents found that chocolate milk resulted in a 12.3% strength increase in the bench press and squat exercises, compared with a carbohydrate drink.
Moreover, a review of 12 studies found that chocolate milk provides either similar or superior exercise-recovery benefits, compared with other popular recovery drinks.
5. Apple or banana with peanut butter
Apples and bananas pair well with nut butter like peanut butter. The natural carbs from the fruit and the fat from the peanut butter work synergistically to not only help you recover from your run but also control your hunger throughout the day.
Because peanut butter is rich in calories, stick to a 2-tablespoon serving, or about the size of a ping pong ball.
4. Veggie omelet
Loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and high-quality protein, eggs are one of nature’s nutritional powerhouses. Studies show that an egg-containing breakfast can enhance weight loss when combined with a low-calorie diet. This makes an omelet the perfect breakfast choice for early morning runners.
Stir in fresh spinach, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, onions, and mushrooms for a tasty, nutrient-packed breakfast.
3. Hummus and raw vegetables
Hummus is a spread made primarily from mashed garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, as well as a few other ingredients, such as olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt.
It’s a good source of plant-based protein, providing nearly 8 grams per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving. Instead of using chips to dip in hummus, opt for low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, celery, radishes, and cauliflower.
A favourite summer picnic fruit, watermelon has few calories and is a good source of two powerful plant compounds — citrulline and lycopene. Similar to dietary nitrates, citrulline helps your body produce nitric oxide and may delay exercise fatigue and relieve muscle soreness.
Containing 91% water by weight, watermelon can also help you rehydrate after your run. You can enjoy watermelon by itself or add it to other dishes like salads for a more filling meal.
Combine cherry tomatoes, sliced red onions, baby arugula, and feta cheese with cubed watermelon for a nutrient-packed, post-run snack. If desired, dress the salad with olive oil and lime juice.
1. Beet salad
Beets are rich in nutrients, low in calories, and a great source of hunger-controlling fibre, making them a great addition to any salad. What’s more, they’re high in dietary nitrates, which are compounds that help your body produce nitric oxide, one of the most important molecules for blood vessel health.
Studies have shown that dietary nitrates from beets and other nitrate-rich vegetables, such as spinach and arugula, can increase running performance and delay running fatigue.
Using mixed salad greens as your base, add one peeled and cubed cooked beet and top with goat cheese crumbles.
Finish the salad off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste. If you’re looking for a more substantial post-running snack, add chickpeas, a hard-boiled egg, or a bit of salmon for an extra protein boost.