Strategic Snacking After a Workout

Choose the right foods to eat after exercise

Whether you just got back from an exhilarating afternoon bike ride or you squeezed in a Pilates class before work, don’t rely on a cup of coffee to help you power through to your next meal. Strategic snacking is especially important after you exercise, because you need to recover lost energy.

Choosing the right snack will depend on what you enjoy eating and on how intense your workout was. If you walked on the treadmill for half an hour, most likely you don’t need a post-workout snack, and your next meal will replenish your fuel stores. (Don’t worry, you can still have a small snack after your treadmill workout, just be careful not to overdo it!) If you’ve had a more high-intensity and sustained workout, a snack is essential.

Some Delicious Phase 1 options Post-workout snacks should contain both protein and good nutrient- and fiber-rich carbohydrates. On Phase 1, among the best protein sources for snacks are plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, nut butter, or hummus. Enjoy any of these with red bell peppers, celery, and/or cucumbers to get in some good carbs. On Phase 1, you might also snack on a couple of lettuce roll-ups made with lean deli meat and some reduced-fat cheese. Or make one of our Phase 1-friendly protein-rich ricotta crèmes in a flavor of your choice. Simply combine 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese with 1/4 teaspoon of a pure extract like vanilla, almond, spearmint, or rum and a little natural sugar substitute to taste. On Phase 1, you also could enjoy our South Beach Diet Jumpstarts Carb Control Snack Bars with only 1 gram of sugar. They are packed with protein and fiber and never have any artificial sweeteners, flavors, or sugar alcohols.

Great Phase 2 snacks For a strategic post-workout snack on Phase 2, top nonfat Greek yogurt with sliced fresh strawberries and slivered almonds or, for an invigorating beverage, whip up a delicious smoothie by combining fresh berries, fat-free milk, nonfat plain yogurt, vanilla extract, and a natural sugar substitute. Enjoy hummus on Phase 2 with 100% whole-wheat oven-toasted pita chips, or spread peanut or almond butter on a slice of 100% whole-wheat bread. Or you could have a bowl of oatmeal topped with some fresh berries. Or you can enjoy one of our delicious, protein- and fiber-packed South Beach Diet 100-Calorie Snack Bars in flavors like Whipped Peanut Butter and Chocolate Caramel Nut. With 16 grams of protein, South Beach Diet Protein Fit bars also make a great pre or post workout snack. As with our Phase 1 bars, Phase 2 South Beach Diet snacks never have any artificial sweeteners, flavors, or sugar alcohols.

Time your snacks Keep in mind that the best time to snack after a workout is within 30 minutes of finishing. Glycogen (the form in which sugar is stored in the human body) fuel stores are more rapidly replaced during this short window of time.

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