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What to eat after working out to lose weight?

The secret to staying in shape? Maintaining an active lifestyle, sticking to a healthy diet, and optimally organizing meals and workouts. Choosing what to eat and when to eat it based on when we exercise is an important part of our well-being.

Like love, work and family, health is one of the most important values of most people, and in recent years it has become even more important. The goal is to feel good and achieve a state of physical and mental well-being. In this sense, regular physical activity along with a healthy and balanced diet plays a key role, especially for those who want to get in shape and lose a few extra pounds.
Once you understand the importance of these two factors, in order to make them a reality, it's important to know how to organize everything: the hectic life we’re all used to, work, family, responsibilities at home... fitting everything in can be really hard! Yet with a tiny bit of planning you can successfully pursue your wellness goal, working out and making the right food choices. One question that may arise when you’re planning everything is: when should I eat around workouts? Before or after?

According to fitness experts, it’s best to eat a meal or snack with protein (for muscle recovery), carbohydrates (essential to give us energy) and low in fat about three hours before a high-intensity workout.

Be careful though, because a post-workout snack or meal is a must.

Why eat after working out

If your goal is to get in shape, then deciding to work out consistently and get your nutrition back in check already puts you on the right track. Before thinking about your diet, however, it’s good to understand how you should plan your meals. As we've mentioned, eating before your workout is very important in order to have all the energy you need to perform at your best.

Should you eat afterwards? Absolutely! The post-workout meal is crucial because it will be good for both your body and your mind. Your body will be able to regenerate, restoring the energy used during exercise and encouraging the rebuilding of muscle tissue, thus preventing the onset of cramps and muscle pain.

Your mood and psyche will also be grateful for this meal, which will be perceived as a reward for the effort you put into the workout.

The matter isn't just limited to general nutrition after a workout, but also what to eat.
Glycogen synthesis reaches maximum levels in our bodies after physical exertion. During this time, it's best to eat quick-release carbohydrates so that they're immediately available to restore energy reserves. They must be accompanied by proteins which, because of their tangible function, are essential for rebuilding strong muscle fibers faster.

Another nutrient not to forget? Fiber! It's a must in the post-workout meal, especially for those who are trying to lose weight, as it promotes a feeling of fullness. We’re talking about soluble fibers such as inulin and pectin, which are present in fruits and vegetables.

If you're not sure which fruits and veggies to eat after working out, opt for those that are in season. In the winter, apples and pears, as well as celery, spinach and kale, which are full of this fiber, as well as flavor!

Now that you understand the key role played by post-workout nutrition, we're going to suggest some functional and tasty dish ideas, depending on the time of day.

Post-workout breakfast

One of the worst habits? Skipping breakfast, especially if you worked out first. In fact, breakfast is a fundamental meal because it provides all the energy you need to face the day, and if you worked out early in the morning, it serves to recover the energy already used! Ditch the idea of having breakfast on the fly with a measly coffee. Grab a pen and paper and jot down some of these simple ideas.

Yogurt, oats, sliced pear. These are the ingredients for a healthy and satiating breakfast that also satisfies your palate. The carbohydrates of the oats, the protein of the yogurt and the fiber and sweetness of the pear: a perfect combination! You can eat the individual ingredients in a bowl, placing them next to each other, or in layers in a glass jar, alternating them. If you have more time available, you could instead make a porridge: cook the oatmeal in water in a ratio of 1:5 until the liquid is completely absorbed. Let it cool and add the chopped pear and yogurt. For a higher protein version of the same breakfast, use Greek yogurt!

By making this recipe the night before and leaving it in the fridge overnight, all you have to do the next day is sit down and enjoy breakfast - a perfect solution if you're always on the run in the morning!

Whole wheat bread, tahini and Organic Fruit Spread Berries. No mistake, you read it right: tahini, or sesame sauce, is known mainly for being used in savory recipes. But it also goes very well with sweet flavors and can even be used for breakfast! Try it spread on a few slices of toasted whole wheat bread. The result will surprise you!

Post-workout snack for weight loss

For those who work out in the afternoon or mid-morning, it's best to recharge your batteries with a hearty snack, rather than waiting for lunch or dinner! Here are two ideas to satisfy everyone's tastes, one sweet and one savory to recover energy after a good workout, so you don't reach your next meal absolutely starving.

Whole wheat bread, hummus and lamb's lettuce. Let's start with a savory snack that’s full of every nutrient, balanced and also rich in fiber. Whole wheat bread, a source of complex carbohydrates, combined with the chickpeas used to make the hummus, give you all the protein you need. Finally, the lamb's lettuce adds a touch of color and freshness to the bruschetta.
Don't know how to make hummus? Don't worry, it’s really easy. Simply puree the cooked chickpeas with lemon juice, a pinch of salt, about 1/4 cup of water for every 7 ounces of chickpeas, the amount needed to obtain a thick and velvety consistency, and a drizzle of our Extra Virgin Olive Oil Delicato to enhance everything.

Leftover hummus can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days inside in an airtight container, so you can reuse it for another snack or, why not, for a dinner, maybe a vegetarian one!

Can't give up dessert? Don't worry: Corn Cookies with peanut butter and banana are the ideal snack to eat after an intense workout, even if your goal is to lose weight! Simple and light, thanks to the use of our olive oil in the recipe, these cookies are perfect both for breakfast and for a regenerating snack. If you then pair them with a light layer of peanut butter and some banana slices, they'll help you load up on fiber, good fats and simple sugars.

Post-workout dinner to lose weight

Finally, we have two suggestions for dinner that are also perfect if you work out in the evening after a long day at work.

Quinoa with Tuna meatballs, caramelized onion and sautéed carrots.
Quinoa is a gluten-free source of carbohydrates that’s also full of fiber and protein and a perfect post-workout food precisely because of its nutritional composition. This recipe is quite simple. After covering the quinoa with twice the volume of hot, salted water, let it cook until the liquid has absorbed. In the meantime, prepare the tuna meatballs: combine a 4 ounce can of White Tuna Steaks in Olive Oil with an egg, a boiled and mashed potato and a tablespoon of grated cheese. Shape the meatballs, roll them in breadcrumbs and cook them in a pan for about 5 minutes with a drizzle of Pure Olive Oil. Garnish the dish with some sautéed carrots and sliced onion caramelized in a pan with water, brown sugar and salt.

Baked salmon with cherry tomatoes and yogurt with herbs. This recipe couldn’t get any easier: place a salmon fillet on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake at 350°F until golden brown. Once ready, serve with fresh cherry tomatoes and a yogurt and herb sauce.

To round out this dish which mostly consists of protein and unsaturated fats, accompany it with some toasted whole wheat or multigrain bread, topped with a drizzle of oil and fresh tomatoes!

Now that we've given you a few ideas, your post-workout meal or snack will no longer be a dilemma and you can indulge in healthy, wholesome recipes.