8 Snacks and Meals to Aid Recovery
Apple Banana Oat Muffins1 of 9
Bananas contain two important electrolytes—magnesium and potassium (60 and 806 milligrams, respectively, in one cup). Oats are also a rich source of potassium (670 milligrams in one cup). With this muffin recipe, created by long-distance runner Sabrina Grotewold, you not only get your electrolytes but also plenty of carbs, fiber and protein.
Blueberry-Pomegranate Juice and Almonds2 of 9
If the thought of eating an entire meal after an intense workout makes your stomach turn, try juice and a small handful of nuts. The antioxidants found in the fruits in this juice recipe can help reduce the oxidative damage caused by exercise. If you pair the juice with a half cup of almonds, you can also reap the recovery benefits of the nuts' 10 grams of protein and 22 grams of fats. Monounsaturated fats—which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease—make up the majority of the fats found in almonds.
Kale and Coconut Water Smoothie3 of 9
Kale and coconut water are good sources of the electrolyte potassium. There are about 450 milligrams of potassium in a half cup of kale. And a one-cup serving of coconut water contains 600 milligrams of potassium. Sarah Stanley, who is a wellness educator, ultramarathoner and the founder of #wellnesschat, likes to combine a handful of organic kale, fresh organic fruits, ice, organic coconut water, organic maca powder and hemp hearts in a blender to make a potassium-rich, post-workout smoothie.
No-Bake Nutty Brownies4 of 9
You've probably heard that chocolate milk is an optimal recovery drink because of its carbs-to-protein ratio. But if you're lactose-intolerant, vegan or simply don't like the taste of milk, this brownie recipe can deliver similar benefits. Its base is made up of nuts, dates and black beans—and no baking is required.
Roasted Arctic Char with Orange-Lentil Salad5 of 9
British racing cyclist Michael Hutchinson cites omega-3 fatty acids as a must-have for post-exercise recovery, as they reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints. Arctic char, an eco-friendly, low-mercury cousin of salmon—offers up 1.5 grams of omega-3s in a 3.5-ounce serving. That same serving size contains about 7 grams of total fat and 21 grams of protein. This arctic char recipe is paired up with an orange-lentil salad. Oranges deliver potassium to the body and can help with hydration (they're 87 percent water). Lentils are high in protein and fiber.
PB&J Sandwiches6 of 9
If you're looking for a portable recovery food, look no further than one of six-time IRONMAN world champion Dave Scott's favorites: the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. There's no worry of spoilage, and it's compact enough to fit in your running pack. Just be sure to use quality ingredients. Use whole-grain bread; peanut butter that only contains two ingredients (nuts and salt—no sugar or oils) and 100-percent fruit preserves (no added sugar). A PB&J typically has around 45 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of protein and 17 grams of fat.
Quinoa Mac, Greens and Cheese7 of 9
There's a reason Popeye eats lots of spinach: The nitrates in it help build muscle. This dark, leafy green is also a good source of potassium (167 milligrams in one cup). When you add that and raw cheese to quinoa pasta, you get a healthier version of mac 'n' cheese. Check out Ancient Harvest Supergrain Pastas, which are made of non-wheat flours such as quinoa, brown rice or dried vegetables.
Split Pea Soup8 of 9
This soup is a favorite recovery meal of Matt Fitzgerald, running coach and author of Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen & The Greatest Race Ever Run. It's high in carbohydrates and protein, and, like most liquid foods, it's easy to digest. Although Fitzgerald prefers the homemade variety, he turns to Amy's Organic Split Pea Soup in a pinch. A full bowl of it has 38 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of protein and no fat. Mix a half cup of avocado in to the soup to get about 10 grams of fat. The flavor blends right in, and you won't even know it's there.