Post-workout, one of the most important times you have to eat in the day. This is a time where our muscles are depleted and nutrients are required to be replenished. We all know that we should be consuming protein following a workout, but what about carbohydrates? Everyone knows that white potato or white rice is a great fast-absorbing carb for their post-workout meal. Here, I will help you spice up your post-workout meals with four different carbohydrates that will add variety to your arsenal. Squash, pineapple, plantain and breadfruit are great foods to incorporate into your meal plan; each food offers its own nutritional benefits, while providing us with those much-needed carbohydrates post-workout.
Squash is a starchy vegetable that comes in many colors and shapes, offering slight varieties in flavor; acorn and butternut squash are two types. Squash provides 16.4g of carbs per cup (butternut), in addition to micronutrients like vitamins A, B6 and C, and calcium. Easy to prepare, squash can be made in a large batch or just before it is needed. It can be cut or mashed, boiled or baked; this provides great versatility with this vegetable as part of your post-workout meal.
Pineapple is a tropical fruit and source of simple sugar, which has a large benefit when incorporated into a post-workout meal at 19.5g carbs per cup. Along with the simple sugars, pineapple provides tremendous amounts of vitamin C. Bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme, is found in pineapple; having this as part of a snack before a post-workout meal helps the stomach to digest the protein that will follow. And let’s not forget how good pineapple tastes!
Plantain is another tropical fruit similar to the banana. Growing up, this is a food that I ate on a regular basis. The most common way the plantain is prepared is by frying it in slices, but it can be boiled or steamed as well. Plantain provides 48g of carbohydrates per cup and a moderate amount of fiber, micronutrients including potassium, vitamins A, C and B6, and magnesium.
Breadfruit is a starchy fruit from the tropics. This is a very dense food that doesn’t have much flavor on its own but offers 40g of carbohydrates per 100g, with some added fiber. Just like squash, breadfruit can be baked or boiled. I find it is easiest to consume when mashed like potatoes, as it holds more of its surrounding flavors.
Now, I am NOT saying that these are the best options post-workout. These four foods are examples to open your mind up to the variety and choice that is out there instead of the standard white potato and rice that we confine ourselves to. Experiment and try these carbs when you have more freedom in your diet; see how you can incorporate them and what they can do for you.