Because the two workouts are so different, the kind of food you eat right after a weight-training session will be different than what you might eat after you do cardio. When you’re doing strength training, the goal is to build muscle mass, which will boost your metabolism and ultimately help you shed fat, and you need the right diet to help you accomplish that. That means you have to make sure you’re getting enough protein, as well as a healthy dose of complex carbs.
POPSUGAR spoke to Dr. Luiza Petre, a board-certified cardiologist and weight-management specialist, to get her recommendations on post-workout snacks. “It is important to replace your energy stores and rebuild your muscle with protein after an intense workout,” she said. “Always eat within 45 minutes of finishing a workout. A post-workout snack is the perfect time to consume your smart carbs for the day.” So even if your goal is weight loss, that doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself of food, particularly after a workout.
These are the five expert-approved snacks you should consider eating when you’re done with the barbell.
Protein Shake With Half an Apple
This duo gives you “ample protein combined with a carbohydrate,” according to Dr. Petre. Use whatever protein powder you love most, whether it’s a plant-based one or one that’s made from whey. As long as it’s made with whole ingredients and no artificial stuff, it’ll do the job. “The recommended serving size of one scoop of whey protein powder combined with water and half an apple is 150 calories,” she explained.
Of course, you could make this with almond milk, but Dr. Petre lays out this particular recipe because it’s lower in calories. She includes the apple in there because, while you know you need protein after a workout, including complex, natural carbs like fruit “is also required to train on – and for recuperation.”
Tuna on 1 Slice of Whole-Wheat Low-Carb Wrap
“Carbs and protein together have a better post-workout recovery response,” Dr. Petre explained. “Tuna drizzled with a little olive oil and lemon juice rolled into a low-carb whole-wheat pita is the perfect carb and protein mini meal.” More specifically, she recommends four ounces of water-packed tuna, and when you combine it with the wrap, it will come out to about 160 calories.
Lean Turkey, Cheese, and Grapes
Sounds pretty yummy, right? “No bread needed – the fillings will be filling on their own,” Dr. Petre said. If you spread a triangle of soft cheese on two or three slices of lean turkey (not the packaged kind, though), you get a “quick snack loaded with protein.” Plus, the grapes will give you the good carbs your body needs. Dr. Petre estimates that this snack would only cost you about 185 calories.
Medium Baked Sweet Potato With Grilled Chicken or Tofu
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, help to regulate your blood sugar, and are full of the best kinds of carbs known to humankind. They also taste naturally sweet, so they’ll quell your sugar cravings for the day. Dr. Petre suggests you pair a baked sweet potato with three ounces of grilled chicken or tofu, which will come out to about 175 calories.
Greek Yogurt and Fresh Berries
“Replace the amino acids you depleted after a workout with protein to help recovery,” she said. “Low-fat Greek yogurt contains nearly 15 grams of protein.” When you toss in half a cup of strawberries and blueberries, you’ll give yourself a boost of energy as well. Keep in mind the serving size for Greek yogurt is one eight-ounce container.