News You Should Use: Choosing Healthy Post-Workout Snacks

by Sabrina Krebs

Overview: Researchers from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln conducted a study appearing in the journal, Nutrients, showing how the timing of deciding a post-workout snack impacts eating unhealthy snacks later on. The researchers found that subjects who selected their post-workout snack before working out were less likely to consume an unhealthy snack.

From the Research (News Release): “Roughly 74 percent of participants who were asked prior to the workout session chose an apple, compared with 55 percent of those asked afterward – making the latter about one-third less likely to favor the fruit. And whereas just 14 percent of the pre-exercise group selected the brownie, about 20 percent of the post-workout group decided to indulge.”

Article Citation: Gustafson CR, Rakhmatullaeva N, Beckford SE, Ammachathram A, Cristobal A, Koehler K. Exercise and the Timing of Snack Choice: Healthy Snack Choice is Reduced in the Post-Exercise State. Nutrients. 2018; 10(12):1941.

Abstract Link:

How to apply:

  • Keep in mind, having a snack after working out is important, it’s so you can replenish nutrients to refuel your body.
  • Pack  a healthy snack before your workout  – and make sure to bring it along with your workout gear. That way you won’t be tempted to buy a less healthy snack after your workout.
  • Don’t eat your healthy post-workout snack immediately after you finish your workout, but eat it within an hour after finishing your workout for the best recovery.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate as well. Drink about 16-24 oz of water for every pound lost during the workout.
  • Some suggestions for workout snack ideas (adapted from here and here):
    • A peanut butter and banana or PBJ sandwich
    • Greek yogurt with berries and fruit
    • Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
    • Apple and peanut or almond butter
    • Handful of nuts and raisins (two parts raisins: one part nuts)
    • Graham crackers with peanut butter
    • Low-fat chocolate milk
    • Breakfast burrito on whole-wheat tortilla with scrambled egg whites, beans, low-fat cheese and salsa
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