Whenever yoga is being talked about, a lot do not actually consider it as strenuous activity. But, that is where they’re wrong. Yoga is actually a workout program that has stuck with us for more than 5000 years.
I wouldn’t blame anyone if they first thought yoga was just a stretching routine. After all, this was how it was depicted in our screens. But, it is time to debunk such misconceptions finally.
Yoga is a mind-body workout that is composed of both strengthening and stretching poses that also focus on deep breathing and meditation to give that full relaxation. The forms and positions that are done in yoga are quite challenging, giving you an opportunity to burn calories and tone muscles.
After yoga, it is not impossible to have your muscles or tendon fibers slightly tear because of the positions executed. Moreover, injuries can happen during yoga and you will need to let your body repair itself through the food that you eat.
There are so many benefits of doing yoga, and consuming the proper food before and after yoga can surely improve the results. So, I’ve listed some of the foods that you should eat after practicing yoga to make your session definitely worth it.
Why Should I Eat After Yoga?
When doing yoga, you will not notice the slight tears that are happening to your muscles and tendon fibers. You can rest your strained and torn muscles to let the natural way of repairing do the work. However, this may not be enough for some.
Another natural way of repairing the torn muscles and tendon fibers are through food intake. Did you know that there are natural foods that may help you repair your muscle tear? And these foods can be found in your post-yoga foods.
Just like any workout, it is essential to eat after a workout because this can cause a loss of muscle and could actually slow down your body’s metabolism. Moreover, your body is severely dehydrated; hence you need some replenishment.
When drinking water after yoga (or workout, in general), we think it’s just because we need to rehydrate. Though it is true, this is not the only case. We need to refuel and rehydrate as well because this helps us to avoid overeating later.
Your body also depletes stored glycogen for fuel after your yoga practice. Hence, it is only vital to consume food rich in complex carbohydrates and food rich in protein to restore what was lost.
What Should I Eat After Yoga?
You can never go wrong with fruits. They’re both delicious and refreshing to eat. Trust me, fruits aren’t just a staple healthy snack but it is also one the best things to nibble on after a yoga session.
Fruits are loaded with carbohydrates that can help your body replenish. This also contains water and vitamins that will both give you hydration and as well as nutrients that your post-yoga body needs.
The key ingredient in the fruits helps you refuel the muscles and also give you the healthiness of your nervous system after the mindfulness sessions during your yoga.
Muscle Food (Protein)
Who doesn’t love protein? You better be munching on your protein food after your yoga practice because this isn’t just delicious, but it also does major repair work for your stress-induced muscles.
When in doubt, go for the eggs. You can always trust the eggs because they’re not only delicious; they’re also versatile to cook. You can do an egg sandwich or you can also just eat the boiled egg itself.
If you plan to eat a more exciting meal, you can have tuna or salmon to pair with your brown rice (which is rich in carbohydrates). This is perfect when it’s already time for a meal.
There are days when you just don’t have the mood to eat after working out. If this is the case, you can definitely just do Greek yogurt or drink a whey protein shake. In this way, you still have the required protein that your body needs.
After all my workouts, I’m often guilty of switching to the commercial sports drinks to quench my thirst and also rehydrate me. Though it is okay, these drinks don’t have all the and the right amount of nutrients and electrolytes that my body actually needs.
Instead of spending your money on these sports drinks, you can opt to just drinking water instead and eating fruits to keep you hydrated and as well as restore the electrolytes that your body needs. It is a different case for those who are dehydrated, though.
If you’re experiencing dehydration more than usual, it is better to get checked up. Sometimes, no matter how much water you drink, this will no longer suffice if you already have a health condition.
When following a post-workout meal, always take note of the 3:1 ratio. I know this is kind of a tough rule to follow most, especially when you really just want to eat, but trust me, this will be extremely helpful.
3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is important to help you repair muscle tissues and restore energy levels. However, this can still vary depending on the intensity level of your yoga session.
|Type of yoga or activity||Recommended Daily Carb Intake|
|Light||Low-intensity yoga or activity||3–5 g per kg of body weight|
|Moderate||Moderate yoga or exercise programme (~1 h / day)||5-7 g per kg of body weight|
|High||Endurance programme (moderate-to-high intensity yoga or exercise of 1-3 h / day)||6-10 g per kg of body weight|
|Very High||Extreme commitment (moderate-to-high intensity yoga or exercise of >4-5 h / day)||8-12 g per kg of body weigh|
Your healthy post-yoga food rich in carbohydrates can be composed of: brown rice, broccoli, whole grain pasta, and quinoa. You can also make some sandwiches because bread is also rich in carbohydrates.
It is understandable when you don’t want to bring containers filled with these meals—I mean, it’s quite a hassle most especially when you’re always on the go. Don’t worry because you can definitely go simple like bananas, cornflake cereals, sweet potatoes, and raspberries, and blueberries.
Did you know that chocolate milk is also a good post-yoga drink? If you don’t feel like eating, you can run to your chocolate milk, and you can trust this drink to give you both the carbs and protein that you need.
Some Meal Plans To Try For Post Yoga Meals
If you’re just beginning to eat healthy after your yoga workout and you don’t know how to prepare your meals, I’ve made a list that may be helpful to you. Please note that you should always speak to your doctor before any drastic changes to your diet.
Egg Whites On Toast
After a tiring session on the mat, you may not want to immediately stuff your mouth with foods that could make you automatically full. Hence, a toast with egg whites can actually suffice and as well as be a good post-yoga meal.
If you don’t want the plain egg on a toast meal, you can season it with salt and pepper to enhance the taste. You can also add some cheese and vegetables that are lightly sauteed so that your meal is more flavorful.
Vegetables are often not everyone’s cup of tea, and you can also be allergic to dairy. If this is the case, you can opt to choose avocados. Avocados are an excellent post-workout snack because it is a good source of fat. Here are some ways to make your toast:
Bowl Of Oatmeal Or Quina Cooked In Almond Milk
This is a perfect meal if you’re planning to have your yoga session in the morning. Yoga sessions between 4-8 am usually done with a relatively empty stomach because you just don’t have the appetite to eat in the morning, or you were just probably in a rush.
After your morning yoga session, don’t forget to rehydrate yourself with ½ a liter of water before eating your bowl of oatmeal or quinoa cooked in almond milk. This doesn’t necessarily have to be cooked in almond milk, I just personally prefer non-dairy milk.
If you prefer to add more taste, you can opt to add some fresh berries and walnuts. You can add a little honey if you want a natural sweetener in your meal.
To learn more oatmeal bowls recipes, check this link out:
Salad With Clean Guacamole or Salsa
When making your guacamole or salsa, you usually have a good amount of salt and sugars. But in this salad, you want to make it as clean as possible—unless you just really want that richness in salt or sugar.
Since you’re eating after a workout, don’t forget to add your proteins on top of your salad like chicken or your hard-boiled eggs. You can also add beans and almonds if you’re feeling fancy!
If you tend to do your yoga sessions during the early evening, this meal is the perfect post-yoga meal. This is in consideration of saving your dinner until after class. This can be a quick snack just to give you the right replenishment and restoration before dinner.
If you want to learn the basics of this salad, you can refer to this video:
Apple And A Bottle Of Coconut Water
Okay, I know, you might be wondering why I’m adding this considering that these two do not actually make up a meal. Yes, these two don’t make up a meal, but these can make up as your post-yoga food ‘meal’.
This is in consideration of those individuals who take yoga classes late at night. You’re most likely to have eaten your dinner and you don’t want to be going to bed with a full stomach. On the other hand, you also don’t want to lie in bed wide awake and hungry.
This meal works best because it is easy to digest while still being able to give you what your body has lost during your yoga session. Did you know that coconut water is a great natural sports drink that can help you hydrate and restore your energy?
The lost electrolytes during your workout can be replenished by your coconut water. Also, this certainly tastes way better than your boring, pure water.
When To Eat After Yoga
You should ideally eat your post-yoga meals or food within two hours after your yoga session. Your body is known to be most receptive to receiving nutrients at this time period.
Make sure that you’re eating your healthy meal or snacks within these two hours because it can have a significant influence on your next practice and also your overall performance. Moreover, you can also expect an overall improvement with your body.
Right after your yoga session is always the best time because this will quickly replenish and restore your body’s protein, carbs, and nutrients needs. This will then help protect your body through a faster healing and recovering process.
The rebuilding of glycogen and storing enough fuel for your muscles can be observed when you eat on time. In this way, you wouldn’t experience burnout, dizziness, or fatigue after your session.
The rules in doing yoga do not only apply before and during the session, but it also has strict guidelines on the after a workout. To sum everything up, don’t forget the two major things: rehydrate and replenish!
The best part of yoga – you don’t need more than a yoga mat. Although, if you’re looking for a more comfortable workout then check out the post I did previously on the best yoga tops.
You can’t maximize your yoga session if you don’t do the post-yoga care to your body. Remember, your healthy lifestyle isn’t just heavily relying on your yoga positions, but it also looks at your food intake. With this in mind, keep your body healthy from the inside out before, during, and after your yoga sessions. Namaste!
Kelly Li is a yoga and mindfulness enthusiast from Adelaide, Australia. Kelly believes that through active yoga, exercise, and practicing stretching routines that we can feel better in our bodies and ultimately better mentally too. Kelly runs weekly yoga boot camps and hopes to inspire others to try it as a form of fitness.