Maximize Your Post-Workout Recovery with These Top 10 Foods

Maximize Your Post-Workout Recovery with These Top 10 Foods

Written by Michelle Daniel, owner of The Lifestyle Technique, LLC

In the previous Air Force Marathon blog, we discussed how fueling before a long run or race is important in performing and recovering quicker. Fueling your body with carbohydrates prior to exercise will give you the energy and strength you need to optimally perform. With that being said, how we nourish our bodies after a hard workout or long run is just as important. Focusing on rehydrating, replenishing electrolytes, post-recovery nutrition, active recovery, and rest is essential in the success of our recovery and to help prevent injury.  According to the Cleveland Clinic, a post-workout meal or snack consisting of at least 20 grams of protein will help in aiding your body repair cells and make new ones. During a hard workout or long run, muscles are broken down and protein is key for building them up again. Protein is the building blocks for every cell in our body. After a long run or hard workout, eating protein will help repair broken down muscle and paired with a healthy complex carbohydrate can help replenish depleted energy stores. Ultimately, allowing us to have a quicker recovery.

Check out my Top 10 Post-Workout Recovery Foods for Runners:

  1. Plain Greek Yogurt without the added sugar
  2. Tart cherries and blueberries high in antioxidants that can help delay onset of muscle soreness.
  3. Oatmeal (complex carb) helps replenish depleted energy stores. Optional: add a scoop of plant-based or whey protein powder to add in more protein.
  4. Avocado Toast– (see recipe below) has a great combination of healthy monounsaturated fats from avocados and whole grains from toast. Avocados have about 15 grams of healthy fats and is high in oleic acid which is good for the heart and fighting inflammation.
  5. Cottage Cheese- packed with protein, calcium, and sodium which is great for recovering from those long runs.
  6. Tofu is a great source for plant-based protein. It contains all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein. Also, a great source for iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Try eating it roasted, baked, or added to a soup.
  7. Eggs is the classic protein source. It can be added to so much or eaten as a snack. Try it on top of toast, brown rice, or add in veggies for a tasty omelet.
  8. Salmon is packed full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids to help with inflammation. It also a good source of vitamin D.
  9. Plant based or Whey Protein Powder is great to add to smoothies, oatmeal, overnight oats, protein pancakes or muffins and more. It is absorbed quickly and speeds up muscle repair. Bonus if it has the antioxidant, glutathione, to help reduce oxidative stress. Glutathione is important in making DNA, the building blocks of proteins and cells.
  10. Lean chicken allows you to get all the muscle recovery benefits of protein with less saturated fat than proteins like beef or pork.

Tofu, eggs, salmon, and lean chicken can be perfectly paired with quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grain bread, rice cakes, oatmeal, fruit, and veggies for great combination of protein, complex carbs, and fiber.

Avocado Toast Recipe


1 Slice whole wheat, Ezekiel, or sourdough bread

1 TBSP Almond or Peanut Butter (OPTIONAL)

½ Avocado (mashed)

2 Hard-boiled eggs- (OPTIONAL)

Everything bagel seasoning or Sea Salt


  1. Toast whole wheat, Ezekiel, or Sourdough Bread.
  2. Spread almond or peanut butter over slice of toasted bread.
  3. Mash avocado and spread over nut butter or toast.
  4. Slice hard-boiled eggs and spread over toast.
  5. Sprinkle Everything Bagel Seasoning or Sea Salt if desired.
  6. Enjoy!

*No Federal endorsement(s) intended.