You’ve conquered your chilly route, but now you need to hit your hunger. Eating after exercise is essential to stabilize your blood sugar and help your body recover; here are five warm, dietitian-recommended snacks to help you conquer the rest of your day.
1. Hot cocoa made with milk
This may be the best news we’ve ever heard: Hot cocoa is the perfect recovery food, says sports dietitian Angela Dufour. The sugar and milk contain carbs and protein — both essential after exercise — and because it’s a fluid, your body can easily absorb it. (Good news for the lactose-intolerant, too: soy milk also works.) Just make sure to drink it shortly after you’re back in the door, says Dufour. “The carbs replenish your energy stores, and a lot of research has found that eating during the first 15 to 20 minutes after exercise is essential for building and repairing muscle.”
2. Oatmeal and trail mix
Dina Daniello-Santiago, a dietitian based in Winnipeg, recommends a carb-packed snack of hot oatmeal with a sprinkling of nuts and dried fruit. “This will help replenish liver and muscle glycogen stores and prevent low blood sugar.”
3. Half a toasted bagel and hot apple cider
This basic post-walk warm-up is simple, tasty and gives your body exactly what it needs: “You’re getting hydration and carbohydrates,” says Fredericton-based dietitian Holly Heartz. If the cider’s too sweet, dilute it with hot water for a less sugary sipper.
4. Peanut butter and toast
If you crave salty instead of sweet, spread some peanut butter on toast when you get in from your walk. The peanut butter has the protein you need, while the toast gives you a crunchy hit of carbs, says Dufour. This slightly salty snack also helps you replenish any sodium lost through sweat.
5. Half a turkey panini
Half of a toasted sandwich — protein-rich tuna and turkey are good options — delivers a punch of post-run nutrition without making you too full. And you can grab it to go if you’re on the run.