WHAT TO EAT AFTER EXERCISE AND WHY.......






'The most important thing to remember when talking about what to eat is that we should be enjoying our food, eating a balanced and nourishing diet! We should not be cutting out food groups or skipping meals. We need to EAT to thrive. There’s no such thing as BAD food or a ‘perfect’ diet… personally I like to follow the 80/20 ratio, 80% is food that is nourishing….20% less nourishing perhaps'





Carbohydrates


Let’s keep it simple, our bodies require energy. Carbohydrates found in food are broken down in our body to produce glucose, which is the preferred source of fuel for all our muscles and our brain. After we exercise it's important to replace these energy stores. Carbohydrate type foods like cereals, fruit, vegetables, legumes, (some examples are beans, peas, lentils) dairy and whole grains also provide a lot of nutritional value with numerous health benefits – (for example fibre and protein, vitamins and minerals) these are known as complex sugars/carbs, which mean they take longer to release energy so we get a slow steady supply of energy over 3-4 hours.



Protein

Is essential for growth and repair, immune function, healthy skin and hair, strong healthy bones, muscle repair and growth to prevent age related sarcopenia. Recommendation is that we eat at least 1.2 g (up to 2g depending on how much exercise you are doing) of good quality protein per KG of body weight. Eating protein after a workout is important for muscle recovery and muscle building. You will find protein in Meat, fish, dairy, tofu, pulses, beans, vegetables and legumes. Adding some protein to each meal will usually mean you are hitting your target.




Hydration

We are 50-70% Water! When we are under or hypo-hydrated we can feel thirsty, tired, dizzy, achy, more prone to headaches and our cognitive function – like concentration or co-ordination can be impaired. When we exercise, as our heart-rat increases – our body temperature increases and we produce sweat to cool our bodies down.


Sweat isn’t just water – it also contains electrolytes. (sodium, potassium, magnesium) It is a good idea to be hydrated before exercise and to replenish during and after. Drinking water with a tiny pinch of salt or electrolytes will do. Often times, if we are really thirsty we are already under-hydrated. A good indication of whether we are dehydrated or not is the colour of our urine, it should be clear, bearing in mind if you are taking vitamins – this can colour our urine often bright yellow! I was very surprised to learn that one of the best drinks to drink if you are dehydrated is Milk! Focus should be on maintaining day to day hydration and increasing during and after exercise.





Some of my favourite meals/snacks to eat after exercise (bearing in mind you don’t have to eat straight away after your workout)

· Poached eggs on toast with avocado and tomatoes

· Beans on toast

· Omelette with tonnes of veg (onion, kale, courgette – whatever you have – so good)

· Humus with carrots (quick snack after)

· Grilled chicken with roasted tomatoes and sweet potato

· Protein shake with fruit and milk (if your short on time and in-between meals

· Natural yoghurt or Greek yoghurt with fruit and milled flaxseed and nuts

· Protein Porridge with lots of fresh fruit and honey

· Fruit, cheese and nuts (short on time, quick snack)

· Peanut butter on oatcakes (be mindful of amount of your delicious nut butter!)

· Roasted chickpeas on avocado toast

. Salmon Fish Cakes (recipe on the website)



(at present Mac Nutrition Student)