As you guys know, I like a good morning workout (& usually a second sweat sesh in the afternoon or at night). Most of the time, when I get home from my workouts, it’s that random time where it’s too late for a second breakfast but too early for a big lunch. That’s why I generally like to have a healthy snack to hold me over until lunch, but more importantly, to refuel post-sweat & to give my muscles the carbs, protein & fats they need in order to replenish themselves & regenerate, build strength & recover.
Research has actually shown that the body’s ability to rebuild glycogen & protein is ENHANCED post-sweat. This is why it’s recommended to consume protein & carbs as soon as possible after exercising. I try my best to do so anywhere between 30-45 minutes after my workout.
Scientifically, after a workout, your body naturally tries to rebuild its glycogen stores & repair & regrow the muscle proteins. While we exercise, our muscles use up the glycogen stores for fuel. Depending on the intensity of your workout, this often means that after it, your muscles are fully or partially depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down & damaged.
Each of the three macros (protein, carbs & fat) are necessary for post-workout recovery, which is why it’s important that your post-workout snack / meal contains a healthy balance. Protein & carbs should be your primary concern, while fats can serve to help keep you fuller & satisfied longer.
- Protein helps repair & build muscle. Exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein. Consuming enough protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids (the building blocks of protein) it needs in order to rebuild the proteins that have been damaged, as well as to build new muscle tissue.
- Carbs help with recovery. As mentioned earlier, during exercise, the body naturally uses its glycogen stores for fuel. After a workout, the obvious result is that you need to replenish them! Refuelling with carbs is especially important if you’re someone with a very active lifestyle (like me) because you want to ensure that you’re giving your body what it needs to rebuild its glycogen stores before your next workout so you can perform as efficiently & as best as possible.
- Fats aren’t AS essential as protein & carbs post-workout, but I always like to include some in my snacks because fats help keep me full & satisfied!
When it comes to picking what I’m going to have post-workout, I go first & foremost based on what I’m feeling & what I’m in the mood for. I make a conscious effort to eat intuitively but, naturally, I almost always end up craving some sort of protein or carb & I have a few go-tos!
Before we get into some snack ideas, one thing that I want to stress is super important is to make sure to REHYDRATE post-sweat! Not only is it important to drink before a workout, but it’s just as important to do so after.
During exercise, you lose water & electrolytes through sweat. It’s important to replenish both to prevent your body from getting dehydrated & to enhance recovery & performance. Research has shown that it’s especially important to replenish fluids if your next exercise session is within 12 hours.
Okay, now that you’ve got some water in your system, LET’S TALK ABOUT SNACKS!
1. A HOMEMADE / HEALTHY BAR / PROTEIN BALL
My go-to packaged ones (& there aren’t that many) are GoMacro, Simply Protein, RX Bar & Roo Bar. When it comes to packaged bars, ALWAYS make sure to read your labels & ingredients lists. A lot of companies will market themselves as healthy, clean, vegan, gluten-free, raw, non-GMO, organic, all natural, etc., but then you read the label & they contain tons of sugar, ingredients you can’t pronounce & unhealthy oils, preservatives, fillers, gums &/or added salt.
I prefer to go for bars with MINIMAL ingredients & a good balance of carbs, protein & healthy fats. The GoMacro & RX Bars are a little higher on the sugar end of the spectrum, but the ingredients are SO CLEAN that it doesn’t bother me as much. The sugar ALWAYS comes from a natural source, such as dates or chocolate chips & is never added or refined.
When I make my bars or protein balls at home, I tend to limit the sugar content more simply because I have control over what goes into them! I have a few healthy homemade bar recipes up & LOADS of protein ball/energy bite recipes, as well! I like to meal prep these on the weekend or mid-week. For the bars, I like to package them individually in parchment or wax paper & refrigerate them so that they’re always ready for me to take on-the-go if I need to! As for the protein balls, I let them firm up in the fridge & then I store them in airtight containers & refrigerate or freeze them based on the texture I want / how long I need them to last.
Here are some ideas:
- Raw Vegan & Gluten-Free Vanilla Almond & Coconut Oatmeal Bars a.k.a. So Much Crumble, So Much YES!
- Vanilla Coconut Collagen Peanut Butter Gluten-Free Granola Bars a.k.a. Gotta Love A Good ‘Ol Gut-Healthy & Beauty-Boosting Bar, Ya Dig?
- Vegan, Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free No Bake PURE BLISS Granola Bars a.k.a. OH-Ma-Granola-Goodness Superfood Bars!
- 5-Ingredient Vegan & Gluten-Free Vanilla Almond Energy Balls a.k.a. Your New Favourite Afternoon Pick-Me-Up!
- KITK’s Fibre-Rich Adaptogenic Bombs a.k.a. Who Knew Snacking Could Help You Cope With Stress, Anxiety, Balance Your Hormones, Boost Energy & Fight Free Radicals?!Low-Sugar & Low-Carb Walnut & Cashew Sweet & Salty Caramel Energy Balls a.k.a. Who Said Salted Caramel Was Unhealthy – Oh & That First Bite… Heavenly!
- KITK’s Vegan Black Bean Chocolate Protein Energy-Boosting Balls a.k.a. The Upgraded Version Of My Black Bean Cookies (If You Know, You Know!)
- 9-Ingredient Vegan, Grain-Free & Naturally Sweet Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Bites a.k.a. Legit The Healthiest Truffle You Ever Did See!
- Gluten-Free Banana Bread Collagen Balls a.k.a. When-Oatmeal-Cookie-Meets-Banana-Vanilla-&-Cinnamon-You-Fall-In-Love-At-First-Bite!
2. FRUIT OR VEGGIES WITH NUT BUTTER OR GLUTEN-FREE RICE CAKES WITH SLICED STRAWBERRIES/BERRIES &/OR NUT BUTTER/HOMEMADE JAM
This is another go-to of mine because it’s a great way to get in some good carbs, healthy fats & protein in a very easy & simple way! All you gotta do is cut up your fruit or veggies & choose one of your fave nut butters & you’re good to go! I personally love apples, Asian pears, nectarines, celery, cucumber & bell peppers with almond or cashew butter!
Wanna go the extra mile & make your own homemade nut butter? Here’s some inspo:
- Homemade Refined-Sugar-Free 2-Ingredient Peanut Butter a.k.a. Life Ain’t Easy, But THIS IS (Oh & Did Someone Say: Almond PB, Coconut PB & Chocolate PB? Yep!)
- Homemade Creamy Silky Smooth Vanilla Cinnamon Raw Almond Butter a.k.a. I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Store-Bought!
- Clean-Eating Homemade Nutella Spread a.k.a. Rainbows-Sunshine-&-Unicorns-Basically-a-Chocolate-Lover’s-Dream-Come-True
And my homemade jams are also a MUST-TRY:
- Kelly’s Clean-Eating Homemade Caramelized Apple & Grape Cinnamon-Spiced Jam a.k.a. That-Chunky-Jam-That’s-Lookin’-Pretty-Fly-On-My-Sprouted-Toast-Oh-&-Partay-in-Mah-Mouth!
- Kelly’s Clean-Eating Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free & Vegan Vanilla Cinnamon Mixed Berry Jam a.k.a. It-Don’t-Get-Better-Than-This-Oh-&-Wait-Why-Do-I-Already-See-The-Bottom-Of-My-Jar-OOPSIE!
3. COLLAGEN / PROTEIN SMOOTHIE
GUYS, I think it’s safe to say I’m obsessed with smoothies. I also don’t think I need to explain to you guys why smoothies are such a great post-workout snack but I will anyway (in a nutshell).
Smoothies are a great way to sneak in tons of greens & even veggies (cauliflower & zucchini FTW), get your vitamin C & hydration from your fave fruit, throw in tons of superfood powders for maximized health benefits (adaptogens, green powders, açai, cacao, matcha, chlorella, spirulina, baobab etc.), collagen & protein powders! You can also throw in some healthy fats (nut or seed butters & homemade nut milks). They’re delicious, filling, satisfying, fun to make & a chance for you to get creative in the kitch!
Lord knows I’ve got TONSSSSS of smoothie recipes on the blog. If you type smoothie on the homepage in the search bar, you’ll have so many to choose from, you won’t know where to start.
Here’s how I build a smoothie: How To Build-A-Smoothie the KITK Way a.k.a. My Magic Smoothie Formula!
Here are a few ideas:
- Vanilla Peach Superfood Protein Smoothie a.k.a. Know What I Mean? Peaches & Cream!
- Thick & Creamy Vanilla Blueberry Zucchini Smoothie (Topped With Bee Pollen) a.k.a. Yes, You Read Right – There’s Zucchini In My Smoothie & It’s So Creamy, It’s Like Ice Cream!
- Collagen Moringa Chlorella Strawberry Shake a.k.a. When KITK & Her Green Smoothies Meet Again!
- Matcha Collagen Greens & Berry Smoothie a.k.a. Green With Smoothie Envy!
- SUPERFOOD Greens Vanilla Vegan Protein Shake a.k.a. All Your Green Dreams Coming True (You Have Those Too, Right?)
- Tropical Greens Protein & Collagen Breaky Smoothie a.k.a. Your Recipe To Energizer-Bunny It Out All Morning!
- Reduced-Sugar Blueberry Spinach (& Cauliflower) Protein Shake a.k.a. The Prettiest Purple Smoothie You Ever Did See!
- Blueberry Spinach Pineapple Vanilla Protein Shake a.k.a. Post-Workout Refuel With Greens, Antioxidants & A Lil’ Bit Of Crunch!
- Vanilla Strawberry Vegan Protein Smoothie With An Antioxidant Kick a.k.a. When Your Afternoon Pick-Me-Up Packs Everything Anti-Harmful-Bad-To-Your-Health, You Sip Up!
- (Undercover) Cauliflower, Berries & Greens Vanilla Protein Smoothie a.k.a. That Whole “Cauli-In-Your-Smoothie” Craze Is WELL WORTH The Hype! I Swear!
- Vanilla Strawberry & Mango Protein-Packed Smoothie Bowl Topped with Bluebs, Flax & Gluten-Free Muesli a.k.a. Creamy-Luscious-Deliciousness-Oh-&-Did-Somebody-Say-FIBRE?!
4. GREEK YOGURT, FRUIT, BEE POLLEN & CEYLON CINNAMON
This is my go-to post workout refuel if I have an early morning spin class. Spinning is the only time I don’t eat breakfast before my workout because let’s just say, I did it once & I felt like I was going to vomit the entire time. So, usually when I get home post-spin, I’ll have a big bowl of organic Greek yogurt, throw in all my fave berries, 1/4 of a banana (frozen, preferably!), some bee pollen for drizzle & Ceylon cinnamon! Sometimes, I’ll also throw on some of my fave granola or some homemade!
Here’s a blog post all about Greek yogurt & why I’m so obsessed: Food For Thought: Greek Yogurt & Why I Eat It.
5. SPROUTED TOAST WITH COTTAGE CHEESE, GREEK YOGURT / HOMEMADE SPREADS / PESTO, SALSA &/OR MASHED AVOCADO / BOILED EGG / EGG WHITE SCRAMBLE OR ORGANIC WILD SMOKED SALMON & VEGGIES
And last but not least, this is what I like to call my KITK sprouted toast variations! Usually, I’ll have this if I get home from my workout & it’s closer to lunch time!
As you can see based on some of the ideas listed above, I always make sure that whatever I decide to top my toast with contains a good balance of protein & healthy fats! I get all my good carbs from the sprouted toast (which is also easier to digest than regular whole grains) & veggies! This is a fun snack because it’s so versatile & easy to change up so I never get sick of it!
Here are some ideas:
- Smoked Salmon Avo Toast With Microgreens & Salsa a.k.a. So-Avo-Freaking-Delicious!
- Clean-Eating Greek Yogurt “Ranch”, Sauerkraut, Micro-Greens & Boiled Egg Sprouted Toast a.k.a. Heal Your Gut As You Lunch!
- Sprouted Toast With Greek Yogurt & a Kale, Tomato & Onion Egg White Scramble a.k.a. Quick & Easy Protein-Packed Lunch Goals!
- Sprouted Toast With Greek Yogurt & Avocado & Some Mediterranean Feels a.k.a. Quick, Easy & Simple “Lunch Goals, Oh & Avocado Love