What I eat After I Work Out (and the best snack I’ve ever had)

People are constantly asking me what they should eat before, during (!), and after a workout.

I do think there is some variability regarding what works best for different people.

As a result of that, I’m just going to tell you what I do, and why it works for me.

I generally do not eat before I work out. In the morning, the most I have is coffee with half and half (which has 1g carbs/sugar per 2 tbsp). My typical morning workout is not very intense—I’m getting into a carb-fuel zone on and off, but not to a point where I deplete my glycogen stores (stored carbs in muscles/liver).

After I strength train and/or walk in the morning, I take my supplements and eat a protein-based meal (eggs, usually—and I throw in some raw milk cheese or goat cheese).

After a low-intensity walk or cardio during the day, I just drink water. (I try to do several one-mile walks during the day, and sometimes a long one at night)

After an intense interval workout (like Ugi or Bodyrock style), I drink water and eat a blend of carbs (still not a lot of them) and protein—either food or a powder supplement (I shoot for casein and whey containing foods if it’s convenient, but I don’t worry about it if it’s not). If it’s not near a meal time, I don’t always eat afterwards unless the workout was longer than 30-45 minutes. Note: I’m not a fan of soy protein isolates or whey isolates. Read why here. My top protein supplement list: sprouted brown rice or pea, hemp, whey (least processed).

It’s best not to ingest much fat right after a workout—it blocks/slows protein absorption into the muscles, but I can’t seem to follow this and so far it doesn’t seem to make a difference.

Many people ask me about amino acids—Taking (or eating) branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) after a workout is helpful for reduced recovery time. These specific amino acids are found in high amounts in beef and fish and assist muscles in absorbing protein, so a meat snack after a strength workout may be the best choice—I don’t usually find myself doing that though, except for the occasional can of tuna (no more than once or twice a week—and always the expensive kind packed in spring water without weird stuff in the ingredient list). I don’t take a BCAA supplement, just so you know.

Remember the J Balls I was making before? Those are still a big hit in my life after workouts (sometimes, though, I eat the dough instead of making balls).

1:1 ratio of peanut butter (I use Once Again...a local brand that I trust--I'll tell you why later) to vanilla or chocolate SunWarrior Protein (my fave), plus stevia

Also, after today’s workout, I made the best snack I’ve ever had in my life–not kidding.

I used a measuring cup to mix it in so I would be sure not to eat more than a serving.

Peanut Butter Yogurt/Frosting

1 cup plain greek yogurt (full fat Fage)

1 dropper full of vanilla stevia

5 drops cocoa bean extract

1-2 tbsp peanut flour (I didn’t measure this)

Stir. Eat.

Mix in and eat out of a measuring cup and know exactly how much you're eating!
I guess this isn't technically called peanut flour, but that's pretty much what it is. I bought it at the Canandaigua Wegmans.
It's not beautiful...until you taste it!

I’m fully planning to make frosting out of this and also eat it straight everyday for the rest of my life. Well, maybe I shouldn’t do that—it has 7g sugar in one cup. So, based on what I ate the rest of the day, this was not a bad choice—but the sugar content makes it a “sometimes” snack for me.

I’m still following my old-fashioned fitness plan (maybe that’s like Laura Ingalls too?). The not-old-fashioned things in the plan include the workouts I’m doing with the interval timer, and the small amounts of weight training. But…the intensity factor is variable and mostly low, and I’m keeping the several-times-a-day routine going on about 5 days a week (usually something like work gets in the way on one or two days).

I feel most awesome when I do something active as soon as I get out of bed in the morning, and then stick to a once-an-hour plan after that.

Other than my new snack, today was uneventful–I worked all day and then had class tonight. My plan is to get very caught up tomorrow and to study yoga on Friday…it’s a yoga teacher training weekend and there’s a test!

What do you have planned for this weekend?

Do you like greek yogurt? Have you had peanut flour?

Any tricks or tips for what you eat before and after workouts? I think if I was more of an athlete rather than an exerciser…I’d be more strategic, but I have the basics covered for what I do.


20 thoughts on “What I eat After I Work Out (and the best snack I’ve ever had)”

  1. good luck with the yoga test, lisa! (that sounds like an oxymoron since yoga is so zen!)
    this was a very interesting post to read – i love seeing what works for each of us, getting ideas. your bowl of icing – reminds me of what i do with protein powder that you’re supposed to make into a shake – i add just enough water to make it of icing consistency. yum!!
    this weekend: work! maybe a movie with a friend, and an outing with mom on sunday.
    i have never tried peanut flour because i have never seen it in canada. sounds so versatile, though!
    have a great day!

  2. I enjoy Greek yogurt, but have the 2%. I’ve got a family history of Alzheimer’s disease and am concerned about taking in too much saturated fat, so I avoid the fullfat version–although it IS tasty.  I do get sat. fat from other animal protein I eat, though. But how much is too much? How much increases your risk for AD? Until I really understand that, I err on the side of caution.

    This weekend, going to Northampton, MA, to visit my daughter for family weekend at her college. Looking forward to it! Unlike previous years when I stayed in hotels, this year I’ll be camping out (on an air mattress) in her dorm room. Oh, boy. That will leave more money for meals out! 🙂

  3. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    I can’t find peanut flour here, but buy PB2 (which I think is close). I mix it with vanilla or hazelnut stevia and spread on a rice cake. SO good.

  4. LOOVE the new haircut!! It looks great! This weekend I plan to spend time with good friends and have a ton of good food. I LOVE greek yog, but have never tried the peanut flour. I see it everywhere on the blog world so I really need to try it! As far as eating goes, if I do an intense workout I like to give myself some protein after, otherwise I just eat what I want (healthful of course.)

  5. I’ve never tried greek yogourt OR peanut flour.  Honestly, I don’t think too much about what I eat when.  Granted, I’m not doing any intense exercise, but I just eat when I’m hungry.  And sometimes when I’m not, but that’s a whole other issue…

  6. Oh yes….me too on the eating-when-not-hungry thing. If eating weren’t so darn pleasant … 🙂
    Greek yogurt is like the texture of pudding and frosting mixed together… It’s way easy to overeat!

  7. i NEED to get my hands on some peanut butter powder. i was just mentioning it to a friend this morning how we dont have peanut flour or peanut powder here and i need to get the grocery store i shop at to start bringing it in. These little snack bites look INCREDIBLE!!!

    xoxo <3

  8. It is amazing how different things work for different people. I have no idea how anyone drinks coffee before working out! I would be in the bathroom ;). I have one lady who takes my pump class who DRINKS coffee during class. ah! Weekend=pumpkin patch with the baby cakes & teaching at the gym. Love Greek yogurt…wish I could eat it right now

  9. I love your system!  And that yogurt frosting will definitely be seen in my household very soon!  I can’t get enough of Greek yogurt – one of my favorite snacks for sure =)

  10. I still need to make those J balls!!
    I do my heaviest working out on M W F before work. So by the time I shower and get to work I have my breakfast which is about 40 minutes later. It usually consist of carbs, veggies, fruit and some protein. I never really knew what to eat and not eat so this post opened my eyes! I always knew to have protein so I’d try to have greek yogurt, but I don’t eat it as much anymore.

  11. I’d feel the same way….don’t borrow trouble…better to be safe than sorry…and all of those sentiments come to mind when considering the “unknown” with health/food!
    Have so much fun with your daughter—the dorm experience sounds like fun (kinda!).

  12. I can’t run on a full stomach so I usually try to have a carby snack before I go, like pretzels or a piece of toast.  I didn’t know that about ingesting fat after a workout… I don’t think that I do (regularly) but I’ve never really paid attention. I love your mix of greek yogurt and peanut flour… I’ve never seen it in the stores here but I’m a HUGE fan of greek yogurt with a spoonful of peanut butter mixed in!

  13. oh yum, that looks great! i have not had greek yogurt, but lori and i have been enjoying goat kefir again lately and love it!

    i love to have a little fruit and protein after I workout, love vega!

  14. Hi, Lisa!
    I was just wondering if you just don’t care about the fat at all? I’m not saying “fat is bad for you” or anything (I’ve read “Deep Nutrition” and a lot about “Perfect Health Diet”), but I heard that after a workout, fat suppresses insulin production (which is good in normal meals) and therefore your muscles don’t get the protein right away.
    What are your thoughts on this? Or am I misinformed?


  15. Hi Stephanie,
    I’ve read that too—that after a workout, it’s better to replace protein and carbs without a significant amount of fat (due to the insulin/protein thing you mentioned).
    In practical application, I don’t always follow that rule for no particular reason other than sometimes I don’t really want to… But I can’t really distinguish between my recovery/energy/benefit of workouts that I eat fat after and the ones I don’t (and that could be just because my workouts are not long enough or intense enough to make a difference? Not sure on the reasoning). I do a lot of moderate level cardio and then 15-20 minute interval timer intense workouts once or more a day… My goals are pretty general—to have a respectable recovery time so I can workout almost everyday and to look/feel good, but I think if I had more specific athletic or training goals, I would follow that fat rule more closely (at least to test it out).
    I hope that was a little helpful!

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