Nutrition for recovery
Looking after your body is important before, during and after sport. This includes getting in good nutrition after you exercise.
Recovery nutrition is important for refuelling and rehydrating your body and promoting muscle repair and growth. Research shows that the body is most effective at doing this in the first 60-90 minutes after we exercise.
Most sporting club members, those of us who exercise from once a day to once a week, can meet recovery needs from their usual meals or snacks, rather than adding in extra food.
So what are the best foods to follow-up your fitness session?
Water: start to rehydrate with water soon after finishing your session.
Carbohydrates: these provide us with the fuel we need for working muscles and our brain during physical activity. Healthy food sources include:
- Wholegrain varieties of breads, cereals, pasta and rice
- Low-fat milk and yoghurt
- Some vegetables such as potatoes and corn
Proteins: these provide the building blocks to repair wear and tear after exercise. Healthy food sources include:
- Lean meat/ chicken/ fish
- Reduced-fat milk, yoghurt, cheese
There’s no one ‘best’ option for what to eat after exercise, but aim to include a variety of foods. Some options that you may like to choose include:
- Reduced-fat flavoured milk or fruit smoothies
- Lean burger with salad
- Chicken or egg and salad wrap
- Muesli with yoghurt and berries
- Fresh fruit with yoghurt
- Tuna with crackers plus a banana
For more ideas about food choices before, during and after sport, check out Eating for Junior Sport.
The Good Sports Healthy Eating program is available to clubs in QLD, NSW and ACT. Register your interest for the program here.
For individual advice contact a sports dietitian registered with Sports Dietitians Australia.