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4 Best Recovery Meals After an Endurance Workout

4 Best Recovery Meals After an Endurance Workout

Gretchen Boswell

Written by Gretchen K. Boswell

Written by Gretchen K. Boswell

A post-workout meal should be tasty, but most importantly, it should be replenishing and nourishing for the body — especially after an endurance workout that lasts longer than 30 minutes. During endurance exercise, muscle protein begins to break down, so it is important to consume a balanced meal containing protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fat within 30 minutes to 2 hours following. Of course, every body and effort varies, but the sooner you are able to refill your energy stores the better. The following recipes and recovery meal ideas work with the recommended ratio of 3:1 carbohydrates to protein for optimal recovery post endurance training.

A post-workout meal should be tasty, but most importantly, it should be replenishing and nourishing for the body — especially after an endurance workout that lasts longer than 30 minutes. During endurance exercise, muscle protein begins to break down, so it is important to consume a balanced meal containing protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fat within 30 minutes to 2 hours following. Of course, every body and effort varies, but the sooner you are able to refill your energy stores the better. The following recipes and recovery meal ideas work with the recommended ratio of 3:1 carbohydrates to protein for optimal recovery post endurance training.

1. Cottage Cheese Apple Pancakes adapted from Moosewood Cookbook

1. Cottage Cheese Apple Pancakes adapted from Moosewood Cookbook

Breakfast/Dessert/Snack

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup (packed) grated apple
  • ¾ flour (white, wheat, spelt, almond also works)
  • 1-2 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs. honey *optional
  • 2-3 tbsp. finely minced walnuts or almonds *optional

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing just until combined. Heat oil or butter in a skillet for frying. Cook as pancakes, flipping to cook both sides until they are lightly browned. Serve with maple syrup, yogurt, jam, nut butter or other preferred toppings.

Why it’s good for recovery

Between eggs, cottage cheese, and any added nuts, this recipe ticks all the boxes for protein, healthy fats, as well as carbs. Adding fruit, nut butters, or other toppings can offer a nutritional kick of your preference.

Breakfast/Dessert/Snack

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup (packed) grated apple
  • ¾ flour (white, wheat, spelt, almond also works)
  • 1-2 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbs. honey *optional
  • 2-3 tbsp. finely minced walnuts or almonds *optional

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing just until combined. Heat oil or butter in a skillet for frying. Cook as pancakes, flipping to cook both sides until they are lightly browned. Serve with maple syrup, yogurt, jam, nut butter or other preferred toppings.

Why it’s good for recovery

Between eggs, cottage cheese, and any added nuts, this recipe ticks all the boxes for protein, healthy fats, as well as carbs. Adding fruit, nut butters, or other toppings can offer a nutritional kick of your preference.

2. Shakshuka (also called “Eggs in Purgatory”)

2. Shakshuka (also called “Eggs in Purgatory”)

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Follow this simple New York Times recipe to make from scratch, or simply use a can of your preferred tomato sauce in the place of the first 8 ingredients. This dish is also very easy to share if you are working out with a partner who is staying for a meal afterwards! Traditionally, this dish is served with bread on the side to “mop up” the saucy goodness.

Why It's Good For Recovery

Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant supporting heart health and sun protection. Eggs and feta are forms of both protein and healthy fats, as well. If you make this from scratch, going garlic-heavy can help stave off infection and reinforce the immune system. Choose your carbohydrate to add to this dish – usually bread is convenient, but potatoes or rice also complement the dish nicely as an absorbent bed underneath.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Follow this simple New York Times recipe to make from scratch, or simply use a can of your preferred tomato sauce in the place of the first 8 ingredients. This dish is also very easy to share if you are working out with a partner who is staying for a meal afterwards! Traditionally, this dish is served with bread on the side to “mop up” the saucy goodness.

Why It's Good For Recovery

Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant supporting heart health and sun protection. Eggs and feta are forms of both protein and healthy fats, as well. If you make this from scratch, going garlic-heavy can help stave off infection and reinforce the immune system. Choose your carbohydrate to add to this dish – usually bread is convenient, but potatoes or rice also complement the dish nicely as an absorbent bed underneath.

3. Team Sky’s Butternut Squash Soup

3. Team Sky’s Butternut Squash Soup

Lunch/Dinner/Meal Prep

  • 1 onion (yellow or white)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 thumb-sized nub of ginger
  • one whole butternut squash
  • optional add-ins: carrots, sweet potato, apple
  • 3 tbsp. olive or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. curry
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 15 oz. can of coconut milk (not light!)
  • 1-11/2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt, pepper, and more curry to taste
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan *optional

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. 

2. Peel and dice the onion and garlic, chop the ginger finely (no need to peel), and peel and de-seed the butternut squash to chop it into chunks roughly the size of a strawberry. If you choose to add sweet potato, carrots, or apple, chop these into comparable chunks, also. Combine all vegetables, garlic, ginger, oil and spices in a bowl and toss evenly to coat. Place all ingredients on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 40 minutes -1 hour or until tender to a fork.

3. Make the chicken stock in a large pot while the vegetables are roasting. When they are done, put the contents of the sheet pan into the stock pot. Add the coconut milk and mix. Use an immersion blender or other food processor to bring the soup to a smooth consistency, adding more chicken stock, if needed. 

4. Season with salt, pepper, and curry to taste and add the parmesan if you choose.

5. Serve topped with yogurt, diced herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, or add in sautéed tofu or chicken.

Why It's Good For Recovery

Ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties, and are also beneficial for gut health. Butternut squash is high in vitamins A, C and potassium and magnesium, which are vitamins and nutrients beneficial to digestion, blood pressure, and healthy skin and hair. While high in fiber, butternut squash is low in calories. The healthy fats in the coconut milk make this soup a well rounded meal that can also be made ahead in a large batch and stored in the freezer.

Lunch/Dinner/Meal Prep

  • 1 onion (yellow or white)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 thumb-sized nub of ginger
  • one whole butternut squash
  • optional add-ins: carrots, sweet potato, apple
  • 3 tbsp. olive or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. curry
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 15 oz. can of coconut milk (not light!)
  • 1-11/2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt, pepper, and more curry to taste
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan *optional

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. 

2. Peel and dice the onion and garlic, chop the ginger finely (no need to peel), and peel and de-seed the butternut squash to chop it into chunks roughly the size of a strawberry. If you choose to add sweet potato, carrots, or apple, chop these into comparable chunks, also. Combine all vegetables, garlic, ginger, oil and spices in a bowl and toss evenly to coat. Place all ingredients on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 40 minutes -1 hour or until tender to a fork.

3. Make the chicken stock in a large pot while the vegetables are roasting. When they are done, put the contents of the sheet pan into the stock pot. Add the coconut milk and mix. Use an immersion blender or other food processor to bring the soup to a smooth consistency, adding more chicken stock, if needed. 

4. Season with salt, pepper, and curry to taste and add the parmesan if you choose.

5. Serve topped with yogurt, diced herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, or add in sautéed tofu or chicken.

Why It's Good For Recovery

Ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties, and are also beneficial for gut health. Butternut squash is high in vitamins A, C and potassium and magnesium, which are vitamins and nutrients beneficial to digestion, blood pressure, and healthy skin and hair. While high in fiber, butternut squash is low in calories. The healthy fats in the coconut milk make this soup a well rounded meal that can also be made ahead in a large batch and stored in the freezer.

Baked sweet potatoes are perhaps one of the easiest and most nutrient rich foods to prepare for an on-the-go meal. Rich in fiber, beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, and potassium, to name a few, sweet potatoes are also a great source of post-workout carbohydrates. 

To bake sweet potatoes – yes, bake many at a time, and save them for 3-5 days in the fridge! – preheat the oven to 400F. Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork a couple times to allow some steam to escape as they cook. Place on a tray, and bake for 40 minutes to one hour, depending on the size of the potato. They will be done cooking when it’s easy to puncture the sweet potatoes with a fork or knife.

Eat baked sweet potatoes savory with sour cream/cheese, and sliced green onions and/or an egg on top, or eat them sweet with cashew cream, maple syrup, or a dash of cinnamon and butter. Save remaining sweet potatoes in the fridge, and dice for a later meal to use as a topping for a cauliflower rice bowl!

4. Vegan Happy Pear Black Bean Burgers

4. Vegan Happy Pear Black Bean Burgers

Lunch/Dinner/Meal Prep

These heart-healthy, vegan burgers from Happy Pear are not only tasty for lunch or dinner, but they’re also great to make ahead in a big batch and store in the freezer. Enjoy them as a main meal loaded with avocado, cheese, tomato, sprouts, and more, or thaw  one from the freezer as an easy side or snack.

Why It's Good For Recovery

Black beans are heart healthy, being high in fiber, potassium and folate and lacking cholesterol. Mushrooms have minimal protein and fiber, but they are a great source of selenium, which helps to support the immune system. Add more carbohydrates with a whole wheat bun or pita and top with heart healthy fats like avocado, cheese, or an olive oil-based pesto.

Other great recipes out there for recovery meals:

Lunch/Dinner/Meal Prep

These heart-healthy, vegan burgers from Happy Pear are not only tasty for lunch or dinner, but they’re also great to make ahead in a big batch and store in the freezer. Enjoy them as a main meal loaded with avocado, cheese, tomato, sprouts, and more, or thaw  one from the freezer as an easy side or snack.

Why It's Good For Recovery

Black beans are heart healthy, being high in fiber, potassium and folate and lacking cholesterol. Mushrooms have minimal protein and fiber, but they are a great source of selenium, which helps to support the immune system. Add more carbohydrates with a whole wheat bun or pita and top with heart healthy fats like avocado, cheese, or an olive oil-based pesto.

Other great recipes out there for recovery meals:

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