Even if you’re brand new to working out (welcome, by the way!), you’ve probably heard that you need two things right after a workout: protein and carbs. And – no surprise – you won’t hear any arguments about that from us. Carbs replenish your muscles’ glycogen stores so they have energy to keep functioning, and protein assists with protein synthesis… aka those gainsss.
But easy post-workout snacks that combine protein with natural carbs are annoyingly hard to come by. Protein bars and drinks can have a ton of sugar, and most complex carbs are either not easy to pack in a gym bag or have zero protein. So what’s a real-food fanatic to do? No worries, fam. We’ve got you covered with these post-workout snacks that feature only real-food ingredients and are on-the-go friendly.
Image via rxbar
Date bars are delicious and a great source of natural carbohydrates to get those glycogen stores back up. But most – even the kind that contain nuts – don’t have enough protein to be a good post-workout snack. RXBars solve that problem with extra protein from egg whites!
Jerky + Fruit
Jerky and fruit may sound like a weird combination, but we swear it’s not just shameless promotion (though we are always down for a little shameless jerky promotion). We first discovered our love of beef jerky and fruit combos thanks to our charcuterie board obsession, and we’ve been hooked ever since. 100% grass-fed jerky provides lean and clean protein for muscle recovery while fruit gives you complex carbs, making this combo the perfect healthy post-workout snack. These are some of our favorite flavor pairings:
Teriyaki + Pineapple
Original + Apricots
Hickory Smoke Turkey Jerky + Apples
Mango Habanero + Mangos (duh)
Pineapple and mangoes are tough to pack fresh, so go for dried versions if you need to eat your post-workout snack on the go.
Nut Butter Turnovers
Image via Dave's Killer Bread
Maybe we’re being a little extra when we say “turnovers” because what we really mean is nut butter on a piece of bread folded in half. Whole grain breads with extra nuts and seeds will give you an extra hit of protein along with the complex carbs. Dave’s Killer Bread Powerseed has 5g of protein per slice compared to just 2.3 grams in your typical slice of white bread. If it’s too dry for you, try adding some homemade chia seed jam or a drizzle of raw honey!
Banana Berry Protein Shakes
Image via Garden of Life
Unfortunately, sugar-free protein powders are usually either filled with artificial sweeteners or just don’t taste that great. (And you did not just do burpees to choke down chalky, tasteless protein powder). The solution? Mix up a scoop with a frozen banana, some frozen berries, and almond milk. You’ll get the carbs you need to recover, and it tastes almost like a milkshake. Garden of Life has a super clean unflavored protein powder with no sugar or sweeteners.
If you need to pack it, just pour it into an insulated bottle up to two hours beforehand and throw in a blender ball to break up any clumps that form as it sits.