The top 10 post-workout meals guaranteed to fill you up without ruining your progress

Permission to eat MORE (delicious) food.
Loading the player...

Be up in the gym, just working on your fitness… but still not seeing results? Join the club.

Well, whether it’s your mission to lose 5 kilos in two weeks or you’re just trying get your health back on track, perhaps the number of minutes you do or don’t spend conditioning, strengthening, back-bending and cardio-ing may not be to blame.

Perhaps it’s knowing what to eat after a workout that makes all the difference when it comes to actually seeing the results of your hard work.

Foods packed with protein, coupled with complex carbohydrates, should be on your to-eat list after a flushed-face cardio burn.

(Image: Instagram)

Although, before you wreak havoc on your chocolate-filled pantry (it’s the pantry’s fault you’re addicted to Tim-Tams, obviously…), listen up.

Nutritionist and founder of Falling In Love With Food Zoe Bingley-Pullin has lined up the deceivingly delicious foods to tuck into after any type of workout. Guilt free and good for you? It really is a dream come true.

What are the best foods to eat after a workout?

As Bingley-Pullin explains, foods packed with protein, coupled with complex carbohydrates, should be on your to-eat list after a flushed-face cardio burn.

Not only that, but Bingley-Pullin says healthy fats can also assist with satiety.

WATCH: Seven ways to eat an avocado. Post continues after video.

Loading the player...

While some of us may be tempted to avoid food altogether after a workout, it’s important to keep your body fuelled with nutritious food throughout the day.

Skipping meals in a bid to see faster weight loss results can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, as can being too strict about what you can and can’t eat on a day-to-day basis.

READ MORE: Ready to kick those weight loss goals? Here’s how to lose 30kg in 6 months.

Why is it important to eat certain foods after exercising?

Once you finish a rigorous workout, your body is in recovery mode so, as Bingley-Pullin tells us, it’s necessary to prevent muscle-tissue breakdown.

Protein is critical for muscle repair and recovery coupled with complex carbohydrates to restore glycogen levels, which the body has used for energy,” she explains.

Once you finish a rigorous workout, your body is in recovery mode.

(Image: Instagram)

“Eating well post-workout prevents dips in energy later on and controls insatiable appetite. Plus, eating and drinking well also replaces fluid and electrolyte losses.”

Remember, it’s all about adding healthy, filling food to your exisiting diet rather than completely cutting out everything you enjoy.

When should I eat after a workout?

While it can be tempting to rush home from the gym and immediately dig into a big meal, but waiting a short period of time can help you see results.

As Bingley-Pullin suggests, the ideal time to eat following a workout is 30-45 mins after you’ve finished exercising.

Protein and complex carbohydrates are your post-workout fuel.

(Image: Getty Images)

“During this time, the body is essentially primed to rebuild and repair,” she says.

“This means the enzymes responsible for glycogen production are very active and eating soon after exercise takes advantage of this!”

OK, what but can we actually eat? Keep reading to discover the top 10 post-workout meals that will have you feeling full and seeing results.

Our top 10 post-workout meals

Yogurt and fruit

Fats? Protein? Carbs? You can check them all off quickly with this snack, plus it’s delicious and easy to whip up in a second. If you want some added protein, opt for a high-protein yoghurt option like YoPro.

Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables and rice

Yes, it’s an obvious choice but there’s a reason so many gym junkies swear by this meal. Plus you can whip it up pretty quickly.

Peanut butter sandwich

It’s oh-so-simple (and plenty tasty), but a penut butten sandwich is one of the quickest ways to get all three macro groups back into your body after a workoout.

Add some banana and honey for a boost of healthy sweetness.

(Image: Pexels)

Tuna and crackers

Tuna is packed with healthy fats and protein and the crackers bring the carbs for an easy fix.

Low-fat chocolate milk and pretzels

Chocolate milk is delicious and if you keep an eye out for a low-fat, low-sugar option you’ll be able to enjoy it without any guilt. Meanwhile the pretzels will fill you with carbs to keep you fuelle after your workout.

Pita and hummus

Not only is it a delicious snack, hummus is the king of healthy fats so dig in!

Protein smoothie

We’re not talking a sad little shake made from protein powder and water here! Pack your blender with fruit, protein-rich yoghurt, a dollop of penut butter and low-fat milk plus some protein powder of your choice for the ultimate post-workout pick-me-up.

Loading the player...

Turkey on whole-grain bread with baby spinach

Chicken breast seems like the go-to healthy meat, but turkey is a fun change you can pick up quickly form your local deli. Slap some cold cuts on your healthy bread and pile on the spinach for a healthy but satiating meal.

Cereal with dairy or soy milk

This is the perfect recovery meal for anyone short on time or energy, just make sure you pick up a cereal that isn’t packed with added sugars.

A protein recovery bar

Do we really need to explain this one?

If you’re thinking of changing your diet in any way, be sure to speak to a nutritionist, dietitian or your GP first.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best post-workout carbs I can eat?

  • Whole oats

  • Brown rice

  • Quinoa

  • Buckwheat/quinoa pasta

  • Sweet potato

  • Sourdough/rye/soy and linseed bread

  • Fruit – like a banana

  • Coconut water

  • Legumes – like chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans and mixed beans

What are the best post-workout fats I can eat?

  • Avocado

  • Extra Virgin Olive oil

  • Raw nuts/seeds

  • Tahini/nut butter

What are the best post-workout proteins I can eat?

  • Salmon/tuna

  • Eggs

  • Raw nuts/seeds

  • Poached chicken

  • Natural yoghurt

  • Soft cheese eg. cottage cheese/ricotta

  • Legumes – chickpea, lentils, mixed beans

  • Tofu/tempeh

  • Hummus

  • Pea or sprouted brown rice protein – vegan

Related stories