Weekend-Workout Fuel: Snacks for Optimal Recovery

Refueling after exercise is essential to seeing results: Since the body breaks down tissues and uses energy—namely carbs—contained or stored in the blood, liver and muscle, you're gonna need to fill the energy tank back up afterwards. Especially after a hard, long weekend workout we're all guilty (yet proud!) of engaging in.

Opt for a snack that delivers a healthy ratio of 4 grams of carbohydrate for every gram of protein, a combo which helps rebuild muscles while replenishing your body's glycogen stores (aka your energy tank). Whip up one of these perfectly portioned ideas this weekend no matter how much time you have—even if it's none at all.

Have two minutes? Make a loaded banana. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter on one small banana. Roll in 2 tablespoons of whole-grain granola and 1 teaspoon of raisins.

The skinny: 227 calories, 6g protein, 24g carbs, 13g fat, 1g sat fat, 4.5g fiber

More: 8 Ways to Fuel With Bananas

Have five minutes? Make a mocha protein smoothie. In a blender, combine 1/4 cup cold or room-temperature coffee, 1/3 cup low-fat milk, 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt, 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon honey, ? teaspoon vanilla extract and 5 large ice cubes. Blend until smooth.

The skinny: 142 calories, 7g protein, 28g carbs, 2g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 1g fiber

Have 25 minutes? Try an easy energy bar. Place 1 cup almonds, 1 1/2 cups rolled oats and 1/2 cup dried cranberries in a large bowl. Warm 1/4 cup each honey and almond butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted and combined, pour over oat and almond mixture, combining all ingredients thoroughly. Transfer to a baking dish and flatten. Cover and place in fridge from 20 minutes to overnight to firm. Cut into 10 even bars. Store in an air-tight container for up to five days.

The skinny: 210 calories, 6g protein, 24g carbs, 12g fat, 1g sat fat, 4g fiber

Have zero minutes? Stash this grab-and-go option in your gym bag: Horizon Organic shelf-stable chocolate milk box. (Tip: Just look for ice at the gym to chill it down!)

More: 5 Healthy, High-Protein Foods for Optimal Recovery

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About the Author

Sarah-Jane Bedwell

SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.

SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.

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