When you ask lifters or athletes what their favorite meal is, many of them will jokingly answer “the next one”.
That said, anyone who lifts knows that the most important meal of the day isn’t necessarily breakfast, it’s the meal that they have post-workout.
This is the time that is essential for building muscle because you’ve committed a lot of time and effort breaking down the muscle from the rigors of training and now need those nutrients to kick-start the recovery process.
If you need some ideas to spice up your nutrition life, here are seven options for you to consume post-workout.
Keep in mind that macro numbers will change depending on the specific brands you use.
1. Outstanding Oatmeal
Oatmeal is considered by many to be a “breakfast” food but you can enjoy this one any time of the day. The fruits selected are for specific reasons but you can substitute them for others if you like. The flax seeds and the honey are what stand out because of the healthy fats from the seeds and the antioxidant properties that honey provides.
- ½ cup strawberries
- ½ cup pineapple
- ¼ cup oats
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein isolate
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon honey
Mix 1 scoop of protein powder with 8 ounces of water like you would a normal shake. Mix in as much of it as you prefer with the oats in a bowl. Save the rest for a beverage if you like. Add in the strawberries and pineapples which will provide you with Vitamin C and digestive enzymes. Microwave for 90-120 seconds. Sprinkle the flax seeds and mix in the honey. Enjoy!
Macros: 530 calories, 30 grams protein, 67 grams carbs, 12 grams fat.
2. Bodybuilding Taquitos
Just because you’re all about the healthy life doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice variety. If you’re into Mexican food, you can satiate that craving with this. It will feel like you’re cheating on your diet but you’ll be fine. Use egg whites instead of whole eggs if fats are a concern.
- 4 corn tortillas, soft
- 2 large scrambled eggs
- 4 ounces turkey sausage
- ¼ cup dried tomatoes, diced
- 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, diced
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
This recipe is going to make four so you can have two now and two later. The fats are high but keep in mind that they are healthy fats. Preheat your oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. Bring the tortillas to your work area. Place eggs, sausage, tomatoes, and cheese in the center of each one. Bring the bottom edge of the tortilla over the filling. Roll it from bottom to top tightly.
Place them seam side down onto the baking sheet and bake until the cheese has melted and taquitos are crisp. This should be around 15 minutes. Serve them immediately. The nutrition info is for one.
Macros: 180 calories, 10 grams protein, 9 grams carbs, 15 grams fat.
3. Sweet Tooth Smoothie
This one is simple but fast, and is sure to take care of any cravings for sweets you might have. The dark chocolate is great to add for the antioxidant benefits. The natural peanut butter is better for this than normal. You can use crunchy if you prefer but I go with creamy.
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- 1 ounce dark chocolate diced
- 1 banana
- 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
- 12 ounces water
- Ice cubes
Mix the protein powder and water in a blender. Chop up the banana, add it and the dark chocolate to the mixture, and blend. Follow this up with the ice cubes and peanut butter. Blend together for 45 seconds. Scrape any peanut butter that might be on the sides off and blend one more time for 20 seconds.
Macros: 340 calories, 33 grams protein, 38 grams carbs, 16 grams fat.
4. Solid Salad Sandwich
Nothing wrong with sandwiches as long as you do them right. This one is also good for if you’re in the mood for seafood. You can never go wrong with tuna whether you’re bulking or trying to lose weight. The best part of this is that it’s fast to fix. This makes two sandwiches.
- 1 can tuna in water (drained)
- 1 medium stalk celery
- 1 small onion
- ¼ cup of your favorite salad dressing
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 slices multigrain Ezekiel bread
- Salt and pepper to taste
Drain the tuna in a strainer. Chop your celery up in small pieces. Peel and chop your onion next. In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, the amount of celery and onion you want (store the rest), salad dressing, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix together to your desire.
Spread the tuna mixture onto two slices of bread. Top with the other two slices. Enjoy.
Macros: 270 calories, 30 grams protein, 35 grams carbs, 4 grams fat.
5. Homemade Power Protein Bar
Love protein bars and want to try to make your own at home so you can enjoy them fresh? If you’re into the bar scene after the gym, go for this recipe.
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
- ½ cup almond milk
- 2 scoops protein powder of your choice
- 1/3 cup almond meal
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
Mix the coconut oil, peanut butter, and almond milk in a bowl. Microwave until the combination is melted. Check every 45 seconds until it’s done. Add protein powder and the almond meal and mix until it’s combined which will take around five minutes.
Line a baking dish (at least 8 inches by 8 inches) with parchment paper. Press and flatten the mixture into the dish until it’s flat and even. Combine the chocolate chips and 1 more tablespoon of coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Place in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir after completion.
Pour the chocolate/coconut oil evenly on top of the bars. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Once it’s done, separate it from the parchment paper and cut into 12 pieces.
Macros: 95 calories, 9 grams protein, 5 grams carbs, 6 grams fat per bar.
6. Steak Stir-Fry
This will make a great dinner for yourself or if you have company coming over. All bases are covered so you can rest assured that the time you spent in the gym wasn’t wasted.
- 8 ounces of steak
- ½ bag of mixed vegetables of your choice (I prefer California blend).
- 1 cup of prepared brown rice
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 white onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
Fill a pot with water. Heat until boiling. Add rice and cook for length of time on instructions of the box. Slice the steak into thin strips and set aside. You can also buy pre-sliced steak if you like but be aware it might cost more. If you buy the veggies frozen, set them out to thaw.
Once they are ready or if they are fresh, preheat skillet on medium heat. Add oil to the skillet as well as garlic and onion. Sauté for around 2 minutes. Add veggies and sauté for around 10 minutes or until they are fork tender. Remove from skillet.
Fry the steak in the same skillet until cooked to your desire (raw, medium, or well). Add veggies to the steak and let cook together for around two minutes. Add steak and veggies on top of plate of brown rice.
Macros: 530 calories, 45 grams protein, 60 grams carbs, 12 grams fat.
7. 4 Ingredient Brownies
Of course I had to offer something for the non-meat eaters out there. If you prefer the vegetarian life then go with this tasty treat post-workout.
- 3 medium ripe banana
- ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 2 scoops vegan protein powder
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a cake pan or loaf pan and set it aside for the moment. Melt your nut butter in a microwave safe bowl. Combine the bananas, cocoa powder, protein powder, and peanut butter in a blender or food processor until it’s smooth.
Pour your mixture in the greased pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until it’s cooked completely. Let it cool once you get it out of the oven before you slice it into pieces.
Macros: 400 calories, 34 gram protein, 44 grams carbs, 10.5 grams fat.