What to Eat After a Yoga Flow
Ever been lying in savasana as visions of poke’ bowls dance in your head? Yeah, we get it. An intense flow can do that to you. Exercise depletes your body’s glycogen levels (stored glucose used for energy) and breaks down the proteins in our muscles, causing those all too familiar tummy grumbles. A healthy post-workout meal that includes protein, carbohydrates, and fat, can help to regenerate muscles faster, restore glycogen, and rehydrate your body. Here are a few suggestions on what to eat after a workout to easily re-up on these essential nutrients.
Generally, you should wait about an hour after a workout before you eat a meal. But, if your stomach is arguing with you about the wait time, satiate with a protein shake. It’s actually a great way to immediately restore liquids, proteins, and carbs right after a workout. For something quick and delicious, try one banana, 3 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp hemp seeds, 2 pitted dates, ice, and enough plant milk to blend. Feeling chocolatey? Throw in 2 tbsp of cacao powder for some peanut butter cup goodness.
Your post workout meal should include healthy fats so that your body can properly receive the fat-soluble nutrients that you ingest. A great way to get in those healthy fats is to have a salad topped with an olive oil based salad dressing, along with the king of all healthy fats, avocado. Take a bed of romaine lettuce and top it with freshly shaved carrots, red onion, sliced cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and of course, mango and avocado. For protein, grill up some chicken, fish, or tofu seasoned with salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Whip the dressing up in a blender with a fresh orange (peeled and seeded), ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, ½ inch ginger, 1 small clove of garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Like it hot? Add 1 small Thai chili before blending.
There’s a lot of confusion about carbohydrates. Should I, or shouldn’t I? Well, carbs provide energy to the body so eating them is a good idea, especially in moderation. Additionally, eating complex carbs slows the digestion process and prevents the sugars from entering your bloodstream too quickly. A suggestion for a satisfying meal with complex carbs is a savory stir fry starring fresh veggies and your favorite protein. Place a wok over a high flame. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Start by stir frying with protein – chicken, tofu, or shrimp. Gently remove the protein once cooked through and then add your veggies. Stir fry for a few minutes, then add brown rice. Tip: Use cold rice to prevent overcooking and sticking to the pan. Toss the protein back into the pan and season with salt, pepper, and stir fry seasoning (optional). Stir fry for one more minute, then add 1-2 tbsp of soy sauce or your favorite stir-fry sauce. Mix thoroughly before serving.
Bonus – FRUIT! Did you sweat buckets at hot yoga this morning? Of course, you’ll want to drink lots of water, but did you know that you can get some of your water from fruit? The juiciest of them all? Watermelon, grapefruit, pineapples, and oranges. The best way to eat fruit is whole because the fiber balances out the sugars in the fruit. When that’s not possible, go for a fresh pressed juice from a local shop or your favorite grocery store.
No matter what type of meal you choose, remember to include protein, carbohydrates, and fat. You’ll feel better post-workout with faster recovery times, making you even stronger for that next vinyasa flow. What are your favorite post workout meals? Do you eat before your workout to avoid being hungry later? Let us know in the comments.