The 5 Best Post-Workout Snacks for Gymnasts

Girls with Bananas

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You just finished a hard practice at your gym, and you're tired. What should you eat? Your muscles need protein in order to recover quickly, and you need to replenish the fuel you've lost during the workout—but you might not be up for a big meal yet.

Your best bet: grab one of these quick, healthy, and tasty snacks.

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Banana Slices With Peanut Butter

Banana slices and peanut butter

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Bananas have tons of potassium, so they can help you absorb your post-workout fluids better (reminder: you're also drinking water, right?), and they're packed with carbs as well. Peanut butter (or almond butter if you prefer it) also has protein for your tired muscles.

How to make it:

  1. Peel a banana and slice it into small sections.
  2. Spread peanut butter or almond butter on top. Try to find nut butter that's made without trans fats and extra salt and sugar. Clues that it might: look for the word "hydrogenated" in the ingredients, as well as words like "cane sugar", and of course, "sugar" and "salt."
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The Super-Easy Super-Power Smoothie

Blueberry smoothie in glass

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This is one of our favorite smoothies of all time because it's loaded with protein and calcium—and it has coconut milk, which helps with workout recovery and makes the whole thing taste like something you'd drink on a nice beach vacation.

How to make it:

  1. Pour a 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup coconut milk into the blender.
  2. Add frozen strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and any other fruits you like until they are pretty packed in and sit level with the milk (if they go above the milk line you are looking at a very thick smoothie, but that's still tasty).
  3. Add a few veggies that you don't normally like much on their own: two leaves of spinach, a very small bit of kale, or a few pieces of broccoli. You won't taste them if you keep the portions small, and you'll be getting some superfoods you don't usually eat. You can also add avocado in there—you won't taste it and it makes the smoothie creamier and gives you a dose of healthy fat that nourishes both your brain and body (see more on this in the next snack).
  4. Blend until it's as smooth as you like.
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Avocado Spread on Bread

Avocado spread on bread with cucumbers and bean sprouts

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Avocados are loaded with healthy omega-3s—those healthy fats that can reduce pain and inflammation and have even been linked to fewer injuries in athletes. They also have more than 20 vitamins and minerals in them, and tons of fiber to keep you full longer. Though they aren't protein powerhouses, they do have about 3 grams per avocado.

How to make it:

  1. Wash the outside skin (you won't eat it, but you also don't want to get the outside germs on the food you will eat), then slice it in half.
  2. Scoop the avocado out with a spoon, then spread it directly on a slice of whole wheat bread. Toasted or not—it's up to you.
  3. Add seasoning on top if you like a little spice: we recommend red pepper flakes or ground pepper. Or add chopped tomatoes and onions.
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Yogurt With Apples

Honey dipper with yogurt and sliced apple in breakfast cereal

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Yogurt (pick organic if you can) is high-protein, especially if you go with Greek. It also has loads of calcium to help prevent injury and protect your bones. Cottage cheese is another great option if you like it.

How to make it:

  1. Mix yogurt with unsweetened applesauce, or slice apples and dip them in yogurt.
  2. Add walnuts for some healthy omega-3s, or mix it up with other fruits like berries or mangos.
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Hummus and Veggies

Glass bowl of hummus with carrot and celery slices

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Hummus—which is made out of chickpeas—is another good source of both protein and fiber. Look at the ingredients label and aim for as few ingredients as possible, with ingredients you recognize. Chickpeas? Yes. Tahini? Sure. Crazy chemical-sounding words? Avoid if you can.

How to make it:

  1. Open the hummus (or make your own hummus).
  2. Dip carrots, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, or anything else you like in it.
  3. Use a separate bowl if others object to you dipping directly in the container.