Most major food guides tell us to substitute meat for alternatives from time to time. Hummus is just one example of a great alternative to meat. Made from chick-peas, hummus is an excellent source of both protein and carbs. Combine with a whole-grain pita for a complete post-workout punch.
No. 8 Toasted Whole-Wheat Bagel With Almond Butter
Whole-wheat bagels are dense in calories and complex carbs, while almond butter is chock-full of essential minerals like potassium, an electrolyte responsible for maintaining muscle contractions. Combine the two and you have yourself a dynamite duo in spite of the fat content of your almond butter. Although fats should generally be avoided following exercise (since they slow absorption of other nutrients), monounsaturated fats like those found in almond butter are helpful in maintaining testosterone, a hormone essential to protein synthesis.
No. 7 Dried Fruit And Nuts
Not everyone has time to whip up a full meal within the window of opportunity. For men on the go, dried fruits and nuts are a simple solution. Try filling a plastic baggy with this healthy pairing to store in your gym bag for immediate access after your workout. You’ll get a healthy dose of protein from your nuts, plus you'll get a quick injection of simple carbohydrates from your dried fruits. Simple carbs are easy to digest and will replenish your muscle glycogen more quickly than complex carbs, making this simple snack a top post-workout food.
No. 6 Tuna And Whole-Wheat Crackers
Tuna and whole wheat crackers are another great post-workout snack for men on the move. Tuna is low in fat but packed with protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. On the flip side, crackers are a crunchy source of energizing carbs. If you can, skip the mayo and opt for some fresh lemon juice, olive oil and a little mustard instead.
No. 5 Salmon, Mashed Potatoes And Salad
Like tuna, salmon is another nutritionally powerful fish packed full of protein and omega-3s. Pairing salmon with a side of mashed potatoes, which are high on the GI, will balance your fish with a hearty serving of glucose-giving carbs. If you're feeling adventurous, substitute your white potatoes for sweet potatoes, which provide a cornucopia of vitamins and minerals at the expense of a few points on the GI. A hearty salad completes the meal and will satisfy your taste buds.
No. 4 Cereal And Skim Milk
Cereals have really evolved since the early days of Lucky Charms and Cap’n Crunch. In fact, today's run-of-the-mill whole-grain cereal with milk may even be as good as a sports drink for recovery after exercise. Whole-grain cereals are now loaded with protein, carbs and other important vitamins and minerals, while milk is an easily digestible and complete source of both casein and whey protein.
No. 3 Egg White And Spinach Omelette
Of whole foods, eggs are the cream of the crop when it comes to protein content. Egg protein is considered to be the most readily utilizable protein with the highest biological value of all whole foods. This means that the protein in eggs is used most efficiently for growth by the body. Turning to spinach, Popeye may have been on to something. As one of the most alkaline foods, spinach is loaded with iron and phytoecdysteroids, a form of plant steroids which have recently been shown to speed human muscle growth. So mix up some egg whites, milk and spinach, and make yourself an omelet. Your muscles will thank you!
Anchored firmly near the top of our list is the ever-popular fruit smoothie. What makes this a top 10 post-workout food is really its versatility. Liquid meals are easily digested, quickly absorbed and, most of all, convenient. To get the most out of your smoothie, blend together some whey protein, yogurt, skim or soy milk, a few high-GI fruits (like mangos and melons), and some bananas for their plentiful potassium. The result will satisfy even the most demanding muscles.
Topping our who's who list of post-workout foods is chocolate milk, but not just any old chocolate milk, we're talking about the pre-formulated, protein-fortified, low-fat, great-tasting kind like Rockin' Refuel (also available in strawberry and vanilla, for the chocolate-averse gym rats). With 48 grams of carbs and 20 grams of whey protein, Rockin’ Refuel delivers the perfect ratio of carbs to protein, along with electrolytes and some other essential vitamins and minerals. Although making your own recovery drink is preferred by some guys, the convenience of having an all-in-one sports recovery drink handy after your workout simply can't be beat.