What is The Best Post Workout Meal? Top 10 list

What is the best post workout meal?

Everyone who hits the gym is trying to enhance their body in some way; whether its losing weight, gaining muscle mass or increasing strength/fitness levels. Making minimal progress can be frustrating, but the results you are looking for may come from tweaking your post workout meal.

When you work out, your body burns calories from your pre workout meal, which then breaks down protein and glycogen in our muscles. This is why we need to replenish the energy stores and amino acids for muscle repair and growth.

The only way you can do this before your body goes catabolic is by eating the right post workout meal within the small time frame you have after training, filled with enough carbohydrates and protein for increasing insulin release. Roughly 60% of your post workout food should be carbohydrates but this can vary. Be sure to include enough protein to prevent muscle breakdown.

So what is the best post workout meal?

Here is a list of some of the best foods to add to your diet:


Chicken stir-fry

Chicken is a staple body-builder meal because it’s a great source of high quality, lean protein. There are 18g of protein in every 100g of chicken. It is also packed full of Vitamin B Niacin, which helps us metabolise carbohydrates. Chicken is often paired with brown rice as it’s high in fibre and dense in nutrients. Try mixing yours with green vegetables as well, for essential vitamins and minerals such as iron.

For a tasty alternative, try replacing it with turkey.

post-workout meal

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are yummy complex carbohydrates which make them the perfect candidate for replenishing glycogen stores. They release energy slowly, keeping your energy levels high.

They can also boost our general health and immune system by providing us with vitamins C, B6, D, potassium and magnesium. Potassium is an electrolyte which can be depleted during workout, therefore adding it to your post workout meal can greatly benefit your recovery. Try them as a side with salmon or add herbs and spices with quinoa for a tasty vegetable dish.

best food after a workout


There’s a reason many bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman eat steak and potatoes after a workout. As a great source of protein, this meat will help you with muscle repair and provide you with minerals such as zinc, iron and phosphorus. Try pairing this with vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli for a filling, full-rounded nutritious meal.

steak for after gym

Tuna with avocado

Tuna is low in fat compared to other meats such as steak and it’s jam packed with heart healthy omega-3’s and protein. Avocados are also filled with fats and carbs, which are helpful for recovery (be careful not to over eat avocados because of the high fat content).


Chia seeds

They contain 5 times the amount of calcium than milk, more antioxidants than blueberries and 3 times more iron than spinach. They are also very fibrous and high in protein in comparison to other grains, beans and oatmeal; read more about the health benefits of chia.

As you can lose a lot of fluid during exercise, the hydrating properties of chia seeds can be helpful post-workout.



Like chicken, salmon is packed full of protein. Unlike chicken though, this fish contains bioactive peptides, which basically means that our bodies can use the protein more efficiently. They also work to regulate insulin levels and support joints. The omega-3 fats have amazing anti-inflammatory properties which can enhance safe athletic performance and make for a quick recovery. Salmon would go perfectly with sweet potato, quinoa, rice or even a super-food salad.

The B vitamins in Salmon are also good for boosting energy for that post-exercise fatigue.


Houmous with whole grain wrap or pitta

If you’re a vegetarian or just want a break from all the meaty dishes, then houmous with whole grain pitta is a popular choice. As it is made from chickpeas, this spreadable dip is made up of protein and carbohydrates. Eat with a side of pitta for some filling carbohydrates. The chickpeas are deficient in some amino acids but the grains from the pitta compensate, together making it a complete protein meal.



A common carb that people think of eating after a workout is brown rice. However, you may benefit from switching to Quinoa, a South American grain which is filled with nutrients including B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin E and fibre. It contains more health-boosting vitamins, protein and fibre than its rice alternative.



These little fruits pack huge bursts of good-for-you antioxidants. They have a low glycemic index which means they wont cause a spike in blood sugar levels like other fruits.

The antioxidants will repair any damage made to your muscles during exercise, studies have shown that they can increase the recovery rate 3x.


Dried fruits and nuts

If you’re strapped for time after a workout and can’t make a slap up meal, a handful of dried fruits and nuts are a quick carb and protein fix. The fruit provides simple carbohydrates which are digested quickly, replenishing your glycogen levels. The nuts also provide a good amount of protein, for muscle growth, and fat. Cashews are a good go-to choice; an ounce of cashews provide 9 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein. Be careful not to overindulge as the calories and fats can quickly add up. Not recommended as a sole post workout meal.


ant to know what to eat pre workout? Check out our article on what you should eat before a workout!

If you don’t have time to eat a meal straight after a workout and you’re trying to add on size, check out how to make your own mass gainer here.

Any post workout meal to add?

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