Whether you workout out first thing in the morning or in the early evening before dinner, many people wonder…
‘When is the right time to eat after a workout?’
If you’re on a weight loss journey, exercise as well as eating a balanced diet will help maximise your results and boost your health.
The best time to eat before a workout
Before we delve into eating after a workout, we should also talk about what to eat before we exercise.
Some people like to exercise on an empty stomach, but exercising on an empty stomach may not be for everyone. Some people struggle to work out if they don’t have anything in them.
Food is fuel so sometimes eating something small, full of protein around 30 minutes to an hour before exercising, might help you do a more powerful workout.
The best time to eat after a workout
When it comes to what you eat after a workout, it’s important to eat things that will help your muscles recover.
Your body will use the food to build and repair muscle and replace your storage of glycogen, a stored form of glucose.
Most experts recommend having a meal that contains both carbs and protein within two hours of exercise. If a full meal isn’t possible, consider a snack that has carbs and protein.
A banana, yoghurt or turkey sandwich are good, easy options.
After this, it’s best to continue to eat small healthy meals full of carbs and protein every three to four hours.
However, it’s important that you don’t eat more calories than you can burn, no matter what time of the day if you are trying to lose weight.
To work out how much you should eat, check your BMR here.
6 foods to eat before and after exercise
1. A Healthy Mummy Smoothie
Our smoothies are a great way to kick off your day. Not only are they a time saver in the morning they also offer a good hit of protein to give you the slow-release energy you need.
2. A sliced banana on wholegrain toast
A great combination with the natural sugars from the banana and the low GI bread. This breakfast or snack will keep you full without leaving you sluggish.
3. A small bowl of porridge or oats with fruits, nuts or coconut
Yet another slow-release energy food, oats are a great way to fill up with few calories.
Add some berries for an antioxidant hit, and you’ll sail through your workout without the dreaded hunger pains interrupting you.
This is a great recipe for overnight oats that you can prepare the night before.
4. Apple or pear slices with nut butter
For a perfect post-workout snack, choose natural nut butters because they contain only nuts and no added sugar or salt.
The protein will work to repair any muscle damage from your training, and the apple will help with hydration.
See our healthy recipe for Pears with Peanut Butter and Chia Seeds (from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge).
5. Greek yoghurt with nuts, seeds and berries
Instead of reaching for a muffin from the café, choose a bowl of yoghurt and top with things like oats, LSA, crushed walnuts, fresh berries or fresh banana.
This will take the edge off your hunger without adding any excess calories that you’ve just been busy burning off.
Find out the best plain yoghurts for weight loss.
6. Chicken salad
After a workout, it’s important to nourish your body with healthy choices. A grilled chicken breast and a salad of leafy greens and loads of vegetables is a great option.
It’s not going to spike your blood sugar levels and will keep your mood stable as you come down from your post-workout high.
5 foods to AVOID after exercise
In general, if you’re exercising (and even if you aren’t!), it’s best to avoid:
1. Sports drinks
They are packed with sugar which is not ideal when trying to lose pregnancy weight.
Despite the marketing of these products telling you that you need to replace the fluids you lost during exercise, you will find that water and healthy food will do the job much better.
2. Excessive caffeine
Too much coffee can make you feel nauseous at the best of times, let alone after a jog. Stick to one in the morning if possible, and then try to incorporate green or herbal teas at other times.
3. Salty foods
If you are starving after exercise, it’s best to avoid keeping things such as chips in the house as they are hard to resist. These salty foods will dehydrate you, which is already an issue after training.
4. Greasy foods
Often we are tempted to think we can treat ourselves to some fast food as we have done some exercise. But in fact, you are treating yourself badly if you give in to such cravings on a regular basis!
Greasy foods like fast-food burgers and chips can cause digestive issues, especially after training, so are best avoided if possible.
5. Creamy or rich foods
If you’re heading out for breakfast after exercising, it’s best to steer clear of things like eggs benedict that are covered in a rich, creamy dressing that can upset your stomach.
Instead, choose something like a poached egg on wholegrain toast with some fresh avocado.
If you need some new activewear, we have a post about how to choose the best gear for your workout.
Are you ready to kick-start your weight loss?
Want to shift your weight but feel like you have NO TIME in your day to exercise and eat healthily?
That’s where the Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge can help.
What do you get? You get access to:
- 28 days of at-home exercise routines (no gym needed) – with video instruction
- Customisable and breastfeeding-friendly meal plans
- Time-efficient exercises for busy mums – under 30 mins
- Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)
- Suitable for basic to advanced fitness levels.
- Home to thousands of EASY-TO-MAKE recipes.
Find out more about joining the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.