Running is a great way to enhance your heart health, regardless of whether you do it for fun, for competition, or as part of your overall wellness objectives.
Although what to eat before running receives a lot of focus, what you eat afterward is just as significant.
Different foods can provide different advantages depending on your goals, such as weight loss, muscle growth, or finishing a long run.
The top 15 meals to have following a run are listed below.
For Weight Loss
Any weight loss plan that includes exercise will be more successful at keeping weight off in the long run.
Running is a popular weight-loss exercise because it can be performed almost anywhere and doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment.
Here are the top 5 foods to eat after running if you’re trying to lose weight.
Beets are a great addition to any salad because they are high in nutrients, low in calories, and a great source of fiber that helps control hunger.
They are also rich in dietary nitrates, which are substances that aid in the production of nitric oxide by your body. Nitric oxide is one of the most crucial molecules for the health of your blood vessels.
Studies have shown that dietary nitrates from beets and other nitrate-rich vegetables, like spinach and arugula, can improve running efficiency and postpone the onset of running fatigue.
Once cooked, peeled, and cubed beet is added to a base of mixed salad greens, and goat cheese crumbles are sprinkled on top.
Add salt and pepper to taste and top the salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Adding chickpeas, a hard-boiled egg, or some salmon for an extra protein boost will make this post-run snack more substantial.
Citrulline and lycopene, two potent plant compounds, are both abundant in watermelon, a favorite fruit for summer picnics. Watermelon also has few calories.
Citrulline, which works similarly to dietary nitrates to produce nitric oxide, can help you feel less fatigued and sore after an intense workout.
Watermelon can also aid in your hydration after a run because it is 91% water by weight.
Watermelon is delicious on its own or combined with other foods, such as salads, to make a filling meal.
For a nutrient-rich post-run snack, combine cubed watermelon with cherry tomatoes, red onions, baby arugula, and feta cheese. Dress the salad with lime juice and olive oil, if desired.
Hummus And Raw Vegetables
Garbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, are the main component of the spread known as hummus, along with a few other ingredients like olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt.
With nearly 8 grams per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, it’s a good source of plant-based protein.
Choose low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, celery, radishes, and cauliflower to dip in hummus instead of chips.
Eggs are one of nature’s nutritional powerhouses, packed with vitamins, minerals, good fats, and high-quality protein.
In conjunction with a low-calorie diet, studies show that a breakfast that includes eggs can help you lose weight. This makes an omelet the ideal breakfast item for early-morning runners.
For a tasty, nutrient-rich breakfast, stir in fresh spinach, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, onions, and mushrooms.
Apple Or Banana With Peanut Butter
Nut butter like peanut butter goes well with apples and bananas.
In addition to aiding in your recovery from your run, the natural carbs from the fruit and the fat from the peanut butter combine to help you control your hunger throughout the day.
Keep your serving of peanut butter to two tablespoons, or about the size of a ping pong ball, as it contains a lot of calories.
For Building Muscle
Running is a great way to increase your calorie burn, keep your heart healthy, and gain muscle when done in conjunction with weightlifting.
If building muscle is your goal, here are the top 5 foods to eat after running.
In fact, chocolate milk is the ideal beverage after a run.
For muscle repair and energy refueling, it is packed with high-quality protein and quickly digested carbohydrates.
Low-fat chocolate milk has a 4:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, just like many commercial exercise recovery beverages.
In a 5-week study of teenagers, chocolate milk increased bench press and squat strength by 12.3% when compared to a carbohydrate drink.
In addition, compared to other common recovery drinks, a review of 12 studies found that chocolate milk offers either comparable or superior exercise-recovery benefits.
Whey Protein Shake
Since they have been around for a long time, protein shakes have become popular among those looking to gain muscle.
Although there are many different kinds of protein powder, whey protein is one of the best options for building muscle after a run.
This milk-based protein is quickly digested and absorbed by your body.
Whey protein contains more of the nine essential amino acids your body needs to get the muscle-building process started than casein or soy protein, which are other types of protein powder.
2 scoops of whey protein and water should be blended together until smooth. Instead of using water, use milk to increase the number of calories and protein. For added nutrition and flavor, mix in some frozen fruit or nut butter.
In supermarkets, specialty shops, and online, whey protein powder is widely accessible.
Grilled Chicken With Roasted Vegetables
A superior, lean protein is chicken.
27 grams of protein, or 4 ounces (112 grams), of chicken breast, is more than enough to kick-start your muscles’ process of recovery after a workout.
However, this poultry can be rather bland on its own, so serve your grilled chicken with a side of roasted vegetables.
Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and cauliflower are excellent choices. Olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste can be added for flavor.
Cottage Cheese And Fruit
An excellent source of calcium and protein is cottage cheese.
28 grams of protein and 16% of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium are both present in one cup (226 grams) of low-fat cottage cheese (21Trusted Source).
A lost electrolyte during exercise is sodium, which is also abundant in cottage cheese.
For extra antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, top cottage cheese with fresh berries, peach slices, or chunks or balls of melon.
Pea Protein Powder
Pea protein powder is a great substitute for milk-based powders if you are on a plant-based diet or have dietary restrictions.
A convenient way to increase your protein intake is by supplementing with pea protein powder.
Pea protein has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis, the process of building muscle, to a similar extent as whey protein, despite the fact that research on the effects of pea protein on muscle repair and recovery in endurance athletes is lacking.
Pea protein consumption before or after exercise produced results similar to those of whey protein in an 8-week study in 15 participants who engaged in high-intensity training four times per week.
Blend one and a half scoops of the powder with water, milk, or a plant-based milk substitute until it is smooth to enjoy the benefits of pea protein.
You can purchase pea protein powder locally or online if you want to try it.
When running a marathon, you should have a post-race strategy in addition to a pre-and intra-race fueling plan.
A post-race meal is meant to replenish the nutrients you lost while running the marathon and to give your muscles the raw materials they need to recover.
To replenish your glycogen levels, which are your body’s stored form of carbohydrates, your post-run meal should specifically include enough protein and a sufficient amount of carbs.
You should also add salt to your diet to make up for the sodium lost through sweat. When consumed with water to replenish fluids after exercise, foods high in sodium also promote fluid retention.
The top 5 meals to have following a marathon are listed here.
Everything you would typically find in a burrito is included in a burrito bowl; it is simply served in a bowl.
While you can put as much or as little food in them as you like, they should have a good amount of protein and carbohydrates to jump-start your recovery and restock your energy.
As the foundation of your burrito bowl, combine black or pinto beans with brown or white rice. Add a lean protein source, like beef or chicken, on top after that. Then, add a ton of your preferred vegetables, followed by sour cream, cheese, and salsa.
Penne With Chicken And Broccoli
Penne with chicken and broccoli is an excellent post-marathon meal because it is full of high-quality protein and nutritious carbs.
The broccoli was added to the penne during the final two minutes of cooking, as directed on the packaging.
Cook the chicken in a skillet with some olive oil over medium heat, then slice it while the pasta is boiling.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, broccoli, chicken, and some garlic. If desired, top with parmesan cheese.
Salmon With Rice And Asparagus
Salmon is a fantastic source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been investigated for their role in lowering the risk of heart disease, mental decline, and some cancers, including breast and colorectal cancers, because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
Salmon makes the ideal post-marathon protein source because they have also been linked to exercise recovery.
For a complete post-marathon recovery meal, combine salmon with a few cups of rice and asparagus spears.
Loaded Oatmeal Bowl
Oatmeal is a superior source of carbohydrates and is high in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that has been associated with a number of health advantages, including a boosted immune system and a lower risk of heart disease.
Even though it’s typically eaten for breakfast, it’s a great option for post-marathon recovery, especially when topped with other ingredients for more protein and calories.
Oatmeal is prepared in milk, then topped with chia seeds, strawberries, or banana slices. Almonds and walnuts are excellent additions. Add honey, some coconut flakes, or dark chocolate chips for more flavor and calories.
Greek Yogurt With Fruit And Granola
Compared to regular yogurt, greek yogurt has a lot more protein.
Greek yogurt contains 15 grams of protein per 2/3 cup (150 grams) serving, compared to 5 grams for the same amount of regular yogurt.
Fruit and granola boost your post-marathon recovery by providing additional carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
The Bottom Line
Many people find running to be a fun and beneficial form of exercise.
While much attention is paid to what to eat before hitting the treadmill or trail, don’t forget to fuel up afterward to hasten the healing process.
Following a run, choosing foods that are nutrient-rich and low in calories can help you lose weight while choosing foods that are high in protein can help you build muscle.
Prioritize high-carb, high-protein meals for muscle recovery and refueling if you have just finished a marathon or other long run.