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Healthy Post Workout Snack Ideas That Work with Every Eating Plan

In the gym you're breaking down muscle, burning fat, and hoping to get that confident, strong and athletic look. What should you eat after your workout to look and feel like that? Here are some healthy post workout snack ideas that work with every eating plan.



What Do Nutrition Experts Say to Eat Post Workout?

In the literature, there are studies that look at all types of post workout food and macronutrient formulas. Researchers will look at certain diets: low carb/ high protein; low-fat/high protein; moderate protein/high carb; Mediterranean, Keto, Vegan. They'll look at protein powders after workouts and most of them come to the same conclusion:


Eat Your Carbs


Carbohydrates after a workout is a good idea for men, women, weight-lifting and endurance training. If you have a brain, red blood cells, and a moving body then you require glucose to survive and the most efficient way to do that is to eat your carbs.


Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrates in our muscles and liver. Muscle glycogen is the fuel used up in your anaerobic or muscle building heart rate zone. Workout after workout, if you don't replenish these stores your body will have to pull from somewhere and while fat is desirable for us to burn, its metabolically easier to turn certain amino acids into glucose (we called these gluconeogenic or glycogenic amino acids).


This is why carbohydrates have a protein-sparing effect. The you eat carbohydrates and protein you can then secure the protein so that it gets used to rebuild and recover instead of burned for energy.


Bananas have 27 grams of carbohydrates in a medium sized fruit.

They are eaten in these eating plans:

  • Clean Eating

  • Paleo

  • Vegan

  • Gluten Free Dairy Free

  • Mediterranean


Sweet Potatoes have about 27 grams of carbohydrates in 3-4 ounces.

They are eaten in these following eating plans:

  • Clean Eating

  • Paleo

  • Vegan

  • Gluten Free/ Dairy Free

  • Mediterranean

Mush Foods Oatmeals are made with "milk" a dairy free food and have 37-42 grams of carbohydrates.

They are eaten in these following eating plans:

  • Clean Eating

  • Vegan

  • Mediterranean

Oats are inherently gluten free, but cross contamination can be possible. Grains are avoided in Paleo and Keto for the most part.


Rice Cakes have about 7 grams of carbohydrates per cake.

They are eaten in these eating plans:

  • Clean Eating

  • Vegan

  • Keto (maybe 1 or 2)

  • Gluten Free & Dairy Free

  • Mediterranean

Watermelon has about 22 grams of carbohydrates in 1/16th of a slice.

They are eaten in these following plans:

  • Clean Eating

  • Paleo

  • Vegan

  • Gluten & Dairy Free

  • Mediterranean


Definitely Get Your Protein

I think this "rule" is one of the most universally agreed upon nutrition guides out there. I'm grateful for that. That' doesn't mean everyone is getting enough, however. How much is enough for your entire day depends on a lot of factors.


Immediately post workout though, researchers have tried to look at different types of proteins, different types of proteins eaten after different intensities of workouts, and most of them draw this conclusion:


Aiming for 15-30, even up to 40 grams of protein post workout is a good idea.


Another important note to mention because animal versus plant protein is usually under a hot debate, objectively speaking animal proteins provide a more bioavailable source. Bioavailable means body uses, so the body uses animal proteins (the amino acids derived form them) more easily than that from plants.


Are the amino acids the same? Yes. But plants give us fiber, phytates and some other nutrients that can limit the absorption of amino acids. If you're vegan your protein intake for the day should be higher than the person aging animal proteins.


Here are some protein options that you can work in your eating plan.


Salmon has 25 grams of protein per 4 ounces.

It is eaten in the following eating plans:

  • Clean Eating

  • Paleo

  • Keto

  • Gluten & Dairy Free

  • Mediterranean

Whey Protein has about 20-25 grams of protein per serving/scoop.

It is eaten in the following eating plans:

  • Clean Eating

  • Paleo

  • Keto

  • Mediterranean

Plain Non-Fat Greek yOgurt provides about 22-25 grams of protein.

It is eaten in the following eating plans:

  • Clean Eating

  • Keto

  • Mediterranean

Smoked Oysters have about 11 grams of protein in each container.

They are eaten in these eating plans:

  • Clean Eating

  • Paleo

  • Keto

  • Gluten & Dairy Free

  • Mediterranean

Edamame has about 12 grams of protein in 4 ounces.

They are eaten in these following eating plans:

  • Clean Eating

  • Vegan

  • Keto

  • Gluten & Dairy Free

  • Mediterranean

Some Takeaways from the Post:

If you are following an eating plan, you can meet your nutrition needs but some plans are more limiting than other.


Carbohydrates and protein are both important to include in your post workout snacks. Fats don't get especially called out because they exist throughout our proteins and are eaten in smaller quantities than carbs & proteins.


Vegan and Keto diets have the least amount of options. That's because of their restrictive nature.


Combine 1 from each category for an ideal post workout snack. This ensures you'll meet both your carb and protein nutrition "check boxes".


This is not an exhaustive list by any means, just something to keep your mind on nutrition!







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