After a tough run, you need to refuel those tired muscles. The quicker you eat after a run, the faster your body will recover. Ideally, you need a carbohydrate snack to replenish glycogen stores, as well as protein to help repair and rebuild the muscles. Try these great options…
Milk’s high protein and carbohydrate content helps refuel exhausted muscles. A study in 2009 from James Madison University in America found that chocolate milk promoted better muscle recovery than a commercial sports drink.
You need: Around 300ml to 500ml.
A fruit yogurt contains carbohydrate (in the form of lactose and sucrose) and protein in a 4:1 ratio. A study from the University of Texas showed that this nutrient ratio accelerates post-exercise refuelling, which means faster recovery and muscles that will feel less sore the next day.
You need: One pot after a run lasting less than 30 minutes, or two pots after a longer run.
Bananas supply easily digestible carbohydrates (around 15g per banana), which is perfect for replenishing muscle fuel. They also deliver potassium, which is essential for balancing the fluid
levels in your cells after running, and magnesium for making new body cells.
You need: One banana for every 30 minutes of running.
These provide a concentrated source of carbohydrate and make for a useful post-run snack when you need a quick energy boost. They are also a rich source of fibre, potassium and antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
You need: A handful to speed up glycogen replenishment.
Rice cakes with peanut butter
Plain rice cakes offer a quick energy boost after a run, but eating them with a little peanut butter is better. This combination provides the perfect ratio of carbs to protein (4:1) for speedy glycogen refuelling and muscle-protein repair.
You need: Four rice cakes with 20g (one tablespoon) of peanut butter.
All nuts are a good source of protein, fibre, heart-protective vitamin E and B vitamins, which help to release energy from food. They not only promote muscle recovery post-run, but also help you shed pounds. A study from Harvard Medical School found that those who ate nuts as part of a Mediterranean-style diet lost more weight and kept it off longer than those who followed a traditional low-fat diet.
You need: Around 30g to aid muscle repair.
You can make your own or buy ready-made pancakes, for a high-carb post-run snack. Two pancakes provide approximately 200 calories and 30g carbohydrate to refuel depleted muscles. They also supply 5-7g protein, which accelerates glycogen storage and rebuilds muscle cells. Top with a little honey or, for an added vitamin hit, a tablespoon of stewed apples.
You need: Two regular pancakes or you can have four Scotch pancakes.
Great for soluble fibre (the type that helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels), baked beans also give you 10g protein per average 200g serving, about the same as a large slice (40g) of cheese. Beans are also rich in iron, essential for transporting oxygen around the body, as well as B vitamins, zinc and magnesium. Eat them on toast or with a baked potato.
You need: Half a tin to give you 27g carbs, the amount burned during a half-hour easy run.