I’m the type of person that fantasizes about food. I fall asleep thinking about the perfectly flaky croissant I had from my favorite bakery and spend my spare time pinning beautifully blogged recipes to make later. Even though food is always on my mind, gnawing hunger during or after a workout makes you lethargic and can prolong your recovery time. Fueling your body properly is the best way to stay energized and propel you to your next sweat session. Most importantly, though, your workout fuel should be delicious! Here are a few of my favorites and some easy recipe ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
I eat eggs every day after my early morning workout. They’re a good source of protein and simple to prepare. Over easy or scrambled are fastest for weekdays, but if I have more time on the weekends, my favorite cooking method is poaching. Don’t be intimidated, just crack your eggs into gently simmering water, time for 4 - 6 minutes, and remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate with a paper towel to dry. I like to eat them on top of multigrain toast.
Oatmeal is my favorite post workout carb because it keeps you full long after your sweat session is over, and it’s a delicious blank canvas for you to add whatever toppings you like. I like blueberries and toasted almonds for something sweet. Or, if I'm in a savory mood, I add salt, a little dried rosemary, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top.
Dark chocolate is one of my favorite treats, but I also like finding ways to stir cocoa powder into my food. Chocolate contains antioxidants (if you needed more convincing) and is definitely a satisfying pre and post workout food. I like that cocoa powder is unsweetened so I can control the added sugars by stirring in my preferred amount of maple syrup or honey if I want something sweet. I add 1-2 tablespoons to plain Greek yogurt or a cup of plain almond milk for simple chocolate milk or hot chocolate. It’s also my secret ingredient in turkey chili for an interesting Mexican twist.
Step aside, quinoa. My sister turned me onto this Italian grain after her time abroad in Florence. Farro tastes like a chewier, nuttier brown rice and cooks in half the time. This hearty grain is delicious alone or tossed into salads and soups. I like to stir in cherry tomato halves, kalamata olives, and a drizzle of olive oil for a Mediterranean variation that is equally tasty served hot or cold.
Ok, green tea is a beverage, but it is also a good source of energy. It offers a gentler caffeine boost than coffee but will still wake you up if you need an extra push. I usually sip hot green tea throughout the day, but when it warms up outside, I put it on ice in a water bottle and take it to the beach or hiking.