Quality counts: Choose nutrient-rich, whole foods and steer clear of highly processed foods. Nutrient-rich, whole foods will give you more bang for your buck, providing the protein, carbohydrate, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals needed.
Here are a few food items to throw in your shopping cart the next time you are cruising the aisles of the grocery store.
Tuna1 of 11
Whether you choose fresh or canned tuna, you'll get a good dose of protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and B12.
Barley2 of 11
Choose whole-grain barley for a good source of iron, other minerals and fiber.
Kidney Beans3 of 11
Rich in fiber and vitamins and minerals, kidney beans are also a good source of protein and are naturally low in fat.
Bananas4 of 11
A good source of magnesium and potassium—422 mg in one medium banana—and a convenient, portable snack, bananas are an ideal recovery food when topped with a tablespoon of peanut butter.
Oatmeal5 of 11
Not just a great whole-grain breakfast option but also an anytime option for athletes. One cup of cooked oatmeal is a good source of healthy carbohydrates, provides about 4 g of dietary fiber and meets 10 percent of the daily value for iron.
Peanut Butter6 of 11
In two tablespoons of peanut butter, you get 8 grams of protein plus B vitamins and niacin. Peanut butter also provides healthy monounsaturated fat.
Spinach7 of 11
This dark leafy green is rich in vitamin A, K and folate. Add to soups, salads and sandwiches for a boost of nutrition.
Oranges8 of 11
High in vitamin C and a good source of potassium, oranges can also help with hydration, as they are 87 percent water.
Cauliflower9 of 11
Don't let the white color fool you: This cruciferous vegetable is packed with nutrients, providing 45 percent of the daily recommendation for vitamin C. Roast the veggie to enhance its flavor.
Time Your Post-Workout Meal Right10 of 11
Try combining these food items to create a nutrient packed recovery meal, such as tuna on top of a spinach salad, barley with roasted cauliflower and kidney beans, or oatmeal mixed with peanut butter and banana.
Remember to consume your recovery meal 30 to 60 minutes post-exercise to refuel properly and maximize your recovery.