So you’ve begun taking small steps to get healthy, you’re following a routine, and you’re wondering what’s next? Although your belly wants to have a burger bigger than your mouth, this is when you need to celebrate your efforts with tasty and healthy nutrition. That’s where the three foods listed below can help. They help your body recover from exercise, contribute to a better diet, and can easily be turned into a tasty post-workout treat.
Recovery: Proteins build muscle, and together with carbs, they help tissue recover from working out. Eggs are incredibly rich in protein, and we’ve got something coming right up that’ll fit the bill for your carb intake.
Nutrition: Eggs are also a great source of a variety of B-vitamins, as well as nutrients good for your eyes. Generally, they contain a low amount of calories per egg, and are full of vitamin D—which helps us absorb nutrients.
Deliciousness: How do you like your eggs? From scrambled and poached to folded into an omelette or boiled, eggs are as versatile as they are nutritious. Next time you see a chicken—you know, crossing the road or something—be sure to offer it a high-five!
Recovery: Water is the main ingredient in chocolate milk, so it’ll hydrate you like a champ. Plus, unlike water, it’s full of energy-building carbohydrates and muscle-building proteins. If you’re keeping a close eye on added sugars in your diet, you can also try regular milk with a serving of fruit for a similar effect.
Nutrition: Milk, chocolate or otherwise, is a great source of calcium, healthy fats and whey protein, which boosts muscle mass and reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other ailments.
Deliciousness: Mmmmmm… chocolate. As well as drinking it neat, you can also incorporate chocolate milk into a variety of nutritious and delicious smoothies.
Recovery: Carbs fuel workouts, but they are also key to refill your tank for your next trip to the gym. Sweet potatoes are positively packed with them. Eating them steamed, mashed, or baked instead of fried also keeps unhealthy fats out of your diet.
Nutrition: One average-sized sweet potato contains three days’ worth of vitamin A—which benefits everything from your vision and immune system to your bones and skin— and a healthy dose of fibre to regulate appetite and digestion.
Deliciousness: Slice ‘em up like fries, bake ‘em in the oven at 200ºC/400ºF for around 45 minutes, add a dash of salt, black pepper and paprika, and get your sweet potato on!
Pro tip: If you add a Greek-yogurt based dip with your sweet potatoes (at least 3/4 cup for enough protein) then you’ll have a tasty, complete post-workout recovery snack.
Do you have a go-to smoothie recipe, or an awesome way to prepare eggs or sweet potatoes? Feel free to share it in the comments below!
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.