Refueling, or recovery nutrition, after a tough practice, workout or competition is a part of the fueling plan that is often undervalued and overlooked. The goals of recovery nutrition are to rehydrate, replenish, and rebuild.
· Rehydrate and replace fluid and electrolytes lost through sweat during activity
· Replenish muscle fuel (carbohydrates) burned during activity
· Rebuild muscle damage that can occur during training and promote increased lean mass
The optimal window for recovery is within 30-60 minutes of completing activity. This is the best time to take advantage of quick digesting carbohydrates combined with small doses of protein. Look for something containing about half of your body weight in grams of carbohydrates (i.e. if you weigh 150 pounds, look for something containing 75 grams of carbohydrates) along with 15-25 grams of protein. If your appetite seems to be low following activity, a liquid food option may be the best place to start.
Some examples of good recovery snacks include the following:
· Low fat chocolate milk
· Fruit and yogurt smoothie
· Graham crackers with peanut butter and low fat milk
· Greek yogurt with fruit
· Apple or banana with nut butter and low fat milk
· Trail mix including nuts and dried fruits and a sports drink
Follow up your recovery snack with well balanced meals throughout the day for even better results ranging from increased endurance and lean mass along to less fatigue and soreness.
Tara Boening is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian with a Board Certification in Sports Dietetics. She currently works as a sports nutrition consultant.