5 On-The-Go Recovery Snacks for Long Workouts

You don't need a big post-workout meal to replenish your body. During exercise, you burn through fat and glycogen, or stored carbohydrate, stores. Exercise also initiates muscle breakdown, which makes protein replenishment important.

More: 5 High-Protein Foods for Optimal Recovery

As long as these three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrate and fat—are replaced at the end of your 2- to 3-hour-long workout, you don't need to stop your day for a large meal. You can refuel with a quick and easy snack using these guidelines:

  • Make a snack that focuses on carbohydrate to fill up glycogen stores, amino acids to halt muscle breakdown and build new muscle, and fat to keep blood sugar stable and continue fat oxidation.
  • Remember, you don't need to replace 100 percent of the calories expended during exercise—somewhere in the 15 to 25 percent range is ideal. 
  • For workouts shorter in duration, fuel normally pre- and post-workout. For example, fuel for a 7 a.m. spin class with breakfast at 6 a.m. and have a simple, post-class snack like an apple and almond butter.

Try these non-perishable recovery foods to make sure you're properly refueling when you're on the go.

Vega Performance Protein Shake

Mix one scoop of Vega, a vegetarian protein powder, with cold water for a 25-gram dose of post-workout protein. Blend a banana in for carb replenishment or pair a 1/2 banana with the shake in a pinch.   

More: Post-Workout Smoothie Essentials

Pecan or Coconut Rolled Dates

Dates are an excellent source of carbohydrate as well as selenium, manganese, magnesium and copper. Roll whole, pitted dates in nuts for protein or coconut for fat, or look for these pre-made items in the produce aisle of your local grocery store for a ready-to-go post-workout snack. 

Banana and Almond Butter

Bananas are a great source of carbohydrate. Keep blood sugar stable and halt muscle breakdown by adding nut butter too. Justin's Nut Butters are sold in convenient single serving pouches that are easy to take with you. 

More: Best Natural Fuel For Runners

Lara Bar

Lara Bars make the perfect post-workout snack thanks to their minimal and recognizable ingredient list. They also contain carbs, usually in the form of dates and protein and fat from nuts. Pick a non-chocolate flavor to avoid melting when you toss the bar into your gym bag.

Trail Mix

This on-the-go snack provides all three macronutrients from dried fruit, nuts and seeds. Avoid high sugar packaged trail mixes and make your own.

Recovery is an important part of training, one that rejuvenates the body and prepares you for the next workout. Make sure you're ready to go by refueling, even if you only have time for a quick snack.

More: Your Guide to Post-Workout Recovery

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About the Author

Brooke Schohl

Brooke is a registered sports dietitian and the owner of Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching/Destination Kona Triathlon Store in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is an avid triathlete, having recently completed her third Ironman. She integrates that personal experience and knowledge into developing customized, sport-specific fueling plans for her clients.

Brooke is a registered sports dietitian and the owner of Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching/Destination Kona Triathlon Store in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is an avid triathlete, having recently completed her third Ironman. She integrates that personal experience and knowledge into developing customized, sport-specific fueling plans for her clients.

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