Healthy Post-Workout Meals to Eat at Local Raleigh Restaurants
Whether you lifted weights, went for a run, or went on a few laps with your bike, finishing your workout is only one part of the fitness challenge for the day. What comes next is knowing what to eat after your workout sesh to help your body recover after sweating it all out.
The good news is, many local Raleigh restaurants offer healthy dishes that are perfect for that post-workout refuel—it’s possible to order something that won’t wreck your nutritious diet plans! Of course, you might want to skip the buffalo wings, and instead, learn which are the best post- work-out meals the next time you eat out.
Why it’s important to eat after a workout
When you exercise, your muscles use up glycogen (aka your body’s energy source) and some of the proteins in your muscles end up being damaged. And after doing a high-intensity workout, your body then tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair the broken down muscle proteins. So when you eat something after working out, you need to get the right nutrients back to help your body recover faster.
What dishes to eat after a workout
Many local Raleigh restaurants offer a healthy selection of dishes packed with protein, fiber, and other nutrients that your body needs after working out. Here are some key ingredients to look for when browsing the menu. These have been hailed by many fitness enthusiasts as ideal post-workout grub:
- Chicken – Chicken has all the essential proteins your body needs to promote muscle repair and muscle growth. Choose grilled chicken over the pan-fried version and pair it with a side of steamed vegetables. If the chicken is cooked in sauce, it might be a good idea to ask your server to have it on the side, or to skip it altogether so you don’t get the extra serving of fat that sauces are usually made from.
- Salmon & Tuna – Salmon and Tuna are chock full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce muscle inflammation. Not only does it help speed up muscle repair, but it also contains potassium to help replace electrolytes lost during your workout. Some popular dishes from local Raleigh Restaurants include the grilled salmon with green beans or the grilled tuna with sesame peach salsa.
- Spinach – Spinach is one of the best foods to eat after a high-intensity workout session. It ticks almost every nutrient your body needs like vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, among others. It’s ideal for those grueling gym sessions because it contains key electrolytes that help prevent dehydration. Plus, it easily fits into many savory dinner dishes, making it an easy choice if you feel like having a salad, or something baked, or even a risotto.
- Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are high up on the list of favorites among the fitness crowd and there’s a good reason why: they’re a treasure trove of vitamins and nutrients! Sweet potatoes contain a ton of fiber that makes you feel full for a longer period of time.
- Dark Leafy Greens – Vegetables such as broccoli, arugula, kale, and bok choy, are bursting with micronutrients and vitamins that help quicken muscle repair and also helps you maintain stronger bones. They’re also a good source of iron that helps regulate your body’s metabolism. Go for something like the organic baby greens with strawberries and spice-candied walnuts (nuts are another excellent source of protein!)
The best time to eat after a workout
Fitness experts (from the International Society of Sports Medicine no less) agree that you should be ready to eat your post-workout meal within an hour after cooling down (which is usually 20 to 40 minutes after ending your workout, or when you feel that your heart rate starts to normalize again). You risk feeling fatigued if you eat any time longer than that.
Today, more and more local Raleigh restaurants serve a healthy fare of nutritious dishes. So, with more people becoming more conscious about their health and physique, there will always be something on the menu catered to the health-conscious crowd.
Don’t forget to hydrate
If you’re the type of person who does high-intensity workouts, or if you’re someone who tends to sweat a lot, it’s super important that you rehydrate to replenish electrolytes (aka minerals that help your body do much of its work). Drinking water is the best way to do this. It also keeps your body cool from the inside out. Recovering from just about any kind of workout goes way better if you’re hydrated.
Now if you’re feeling a little edgy, you can check the menu for these healthy drinks:
- Unsweetened coconut water – coconut water is packed with antioxidants that make it an amazing source of electrolytes. It’s a natural alternative to pre-packed sports drinks.
- Chia water – Chia seeds soaked in water makes for a refreshing and hydrating drink. Moreover, it also boosts your energy levels and helps cool your body. When you find chia seeds in local Raleigh Restaurants, you can also ask for some honey to add a sweet touch to your drink.
- Milk – Studies have shown that milk is actually more hydrating than water. Milk contains lactose, sodium, as well as some good fat that helps your body absorb and store more water over a longer period of time.
- Herbal Teas – Teas such as Chamomile and Hibiscus contain high levels of antioxidants that not only helps you to relax, but also does a great job at restoring lost electrolytes. These antioxidants also reduce muscle soreness and allow you to recover muscle strength much quicker.
Everything in moderation
It’s important to realize that these are general guidelines that provide insights when you decide to eat out after working out. Remember that what you put in your body is just as important as what you do with your body. Local Raleigh restaurants are home to a plethora of food and drink, but it’s important to stay focused on achieving your fitness goals.
Rewarding yourself with that juicy steak (and hey, a glass of wine is good for the heart!) is one thing, but it takes willpower and discipline to stay on top of what you decide to eat—Besides, that could be one reason why there are cheat days, anyway. So choose your meals wisely and don’t forget to enjoy your journey towards self-improvement!