If there’s one thing that every athlete and their family knows, it’s that food is fuel for optimal sports performance. With student-athletes gearing up for the season ahead, consuming recovery foods is one important way an athlete can help counteract the physical and mental fatigue of a difficult practice or challenging workout.
Benefits of Recovery Eating:
Reduced muscle soreness
Increased ability to build muscle
Better bone mass
Improved utilization of body fat
What Are the Goals of Recovery Eating?
Replenishing glycogen stores
Repairing damaged muscle fibers
Rehydrating lost fluids
When Should Athletes Consume Recovery Foods?
Athletes should try to eat within 30 mins of completing their workout as the muscles are most receptive to carbohydrates and protein. Eating a full meal or a snack followed by a full meal a few hours later is ideal for restoring nutrient levels.
Guidelines for Recovery Foods
Although varying from athlete to athlete based on their weight and intensity of the workout, athletes should consume:
½ gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight
20-40 grams of high quality, lean protein
20-24 oz of liquid for every pound lost during the workout
What Recovery Foods Should Athletes Be Eating?
Depending on the athlete’s schedule and accessibility to specific foods, these are our favorite recovery foods to help an athlete recharge after a workout.
For Morning Recovery
Yogurt with berries
Eggs with a side of toast or fruit
Oatmeal topped with nuts
Toast with nut butter
Smoothies made with yogurt, fruit, and nut butter or a vegetable
For Afternoon Recovery
Grilled chicken sandwich with a side of fruit
Pasta dishes with chicken
Salad with grilled chicken or beans
Peanut butter sandwich and string cheese and a banana
For Evening Recovery
Grilled tuna with a side of veggies
Protein bowls (chicken/tofu with barley/brown rice and mixed veggies)
Ground turkey tacos
Crackers/veggies with hummus
Trail mix or mixed nuts
Bread or toast with nut butter
Fruit with nut butter
Consuming recovery foods is just one way for athletes to optimize their performance. Contact a Physical Therapist at 401.726.7100 for more ways to increase strength, reduce soreness, and improve your athletic performance. With multiple locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Performance Physical Therapy is ready to get you moving better, faster.