I know it’s tempting after every long hot run to crack open a soda and or a cold beer (which is perfectly fine every so often!)
But if you want to lose that extra weight or beat your PR or personal record for the 5K or half marathon, you’ll have to improve what you eat after a run.
I know you’ll have to cut back on that delicious locally brewed beer just a bit!
Go-To Post Run Food
Chocolate milk is a staple post-run food in the running community. Seriously, drinking chocolate milk after a run is equivalent to eating chicken and rice in the lifting community (which by the way chicken and rice is a good meal after a run as well!)
Chocolate milk offers protein to rebuild & strengthen muscles, and also replenishment a proper amount of carbohydrates.
As a result, there should be no reason not to drink chocolate milk after a run unless you are lactose intolerant… then I recommend soy milk.
I recommend soy milk over almond milk due to the larger portion of protein in soy milk, but almond milk is still not a bad option.
If you haven’t heard of Greek yogurt before today, you must have not have walked into a grocery store, supermarket or at the very least the dairy align in the past half a decade.
As of writing this article, when I walk past the dairy section in a grocery store I see flavors ranging from basic blueberry to crazy flavors such as strawberry cheesecake. (And they all taste pretty good!)
But seriously, I see Greek yogurt displayed in more than half of the dairy section displays, and for good reason!
Greek yogurt is fairly high protein for its calorie count, for instance in one serving (5.3 oz) of Chobani Greek yogurt there are 14 grams of protein per 140 calories.
The best Greek yogurt option I recommend is plain unsweetened Greek yogurt due to this option of Greek yogurt containing minimal sugar.
I understand if plain unsweetened Greek yogurt is too flavorless for your taste buds, so flavored Greek yogurt is still sufficient.
Also, stay away from regular yogurt because regular yogurt usually has less protein in comparison to greek yogurt and a lot of added sugar.
Low Calorie Replenishment
I know eating fruit is not going to get you those massive arms, massive chest, or even massive booty (don’t you dare roll your eyes we know it’s somewhat true!).
Now, even though fruit lacks any substantial amount of protein. Fruits instead make up for this lack by being fairly low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals.
100 grams of watermelon contains 30 calories, while 100 grams of French fries contains over 300 calories. That is 10 times more!
Heck if you incorporated more fruit in your diet, you probably would not need to run as intense to lose weight (but that doesn’t mean you should quit on yourself or get lazy!)
Eating any fruit over junk food after a run is definitely healthy, but if you can afford these fruits (because I know fruit is expensive nowadays)
I personally recommend watermelon, blueberries, and mangos due to either their extra low calories or extra-high vitamins and minerals.
Salad with chicken or salmon
Yes, if you eat balanced and healthy salad after a long run, you will lose weight in no time.
This does not mean if you eat a large chic-fil-A, Panera, or McDonald’s salad after every single run that you will start looking like Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman or Chris Hemsworth in Thor.
Nothing wrong with a salad from these places occasionally or in a pinch just don’t make these types of salads your go to eat after runs if you really want to lose weight.
If you are going to eat a salad instead of a delicious burger from five guys, you might as well make the salad healthy.
Furthermore, I know you can go crazy with the topping to put on a salad such as walnuts or dried cranberries, but I have only two major recommendations.
- The first is to replace the lettuce with spinach or kale because both of those dark green leafy veggies contain much more nutritional value such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Magnesium.
- The second is to cut back and change your dressing. Seriously, in one serving of Creamy Caesar dressing there is 160 calories and most of those calories are fat and by the way, one serving is only 2 Tbsp
Also, option ingredients to add are salmon or chicken because of the high protein content and low fat.
Don’t worry I am not gonna ask you to make a five-layer omelet like you would find a five-star hotel breakfast bar!
Yet, I do know after an intense cardio workout this one requires a bit more work to cook in comparison to other post-run foods on this list such as chocolate milk.
However, trust me cooking eggs is well worth the nutritional value.
In a single egg, there are 7 grams of protein with only 80 calories with the low calories and high protein ratio perfect for losing weight and building lean muscle after a long run.
Furthermore, you can enhance eggs by adding veggies such as spinach, peppers, onions, and mushrooms to increase your vitamins and mineral intake.
However, a few words of warning is that eggs are fairly high in cholesterol, so I would not recommend eggs if you have heart problems.
To most people, I would highly recommend a few eggs to eat after runs in the morning especially if you want to lose weight or keep your lean muscle.
Great for Performance (but also fairly high in calories)
Now I definitely would not recommend eating peanut butter if you are trying to lose weight or maintain lean muscle due to the high amount of calories.
Nevertheless, I would recommend eating “healthy” peanut butter to athletes focused more on performance such as high school cross country runners, track & field athletes, and marathoners.
The reason I actually recommend this food to these runners who are focused on beating their mile time or PR in a marathon is that these groups are constantly burning through their energy reserves due to the constantly high-intensity workouts.
Therefore, peanut butter provides plenty of fat and carbs to burning for the next workout while providing protein to rebuild muscles.
After a hard tempo run, HIIT cardio workout, or mile repeat workout, Quinoa is a perfect food to replenish the body.
Quinoa offers high amounts of complex carbs aka the “good carbs” and a decent amount of protein to also build muscle.
Some people would even consider Quinoa a “superfood” due to all of its nutritional value.
Surprisingly quinoa is a seed, but don’t be fooled quinoa can be used in various dishes ranging from soups, salads, and even breakfast.
I personally recommend replacing rice with quinoa if you plan on having a post-run meal that contains rice.
Banana Protein Shake
I have to be honest this is definitely the post-workout meal for basically anyone who lives at the gym (I can clearly picture the metal ball rattling in the sealed plastic cup).
But this doesn’t mean protein powder can’t be used after a cardio workout as well.
Protein shakes made from protein powder offer the obvious high amounts of protein for building muscle, but these shakes can be lacking in other nutritional value due to the high focus on protein.
As a result, I recommend runners adding a banana to add a healthy amount of carbs to their meal.
Plus, bananas add extra flavor to the protein shakes (especially for the weirdos that only use water with their protein powder)