Exercise can help you feel and function at your best. Whether you like to take a walk with your pup or are a boutique fitness groupie, you may find yourself wondering what to eat after a workout. Contrary to what a lot of pop culture nutrition news will tell you, you don't need to rage on protein all day to live a healthy fit lifestyle. The best snacks for recovery depend on what type of workout you do. 

For Endurance Trainers:

wine, water
Grace Ling

Endurance athletes need to maintain glycogen storage levels for optimal performance. Glycogen is how the body stores glucose (sugar) in the body. It's found in the liver and in skeletal muscles.

Your body is constantly using and replenishing glucose, and endurance exercisers need to make sure they eat enough carbohydrate-filled foods to replenish storage for long workouts to keep them going. Low-carb diets can actually decrease athletic performance for endurance athletes. Eating carb-rich foods within an hour of activity can help replenish and maintaining glycogen stores to fuel future workouts. Pair your carbs with some fat and/or protein can help you stay fuller longer until your next meal.

peanut butter, toast, bread, jam, butter, sandwich, cake, peanut, jelly
Christin Urso

Some snack ideas include: classic pb&j; a banana with nut butter; berries or melon with your favorite yogurt; a bowl of oatmeal with berries and nut butter; avocado toast; a granola bar paired with an apple; a sweet potato with nut butter; carrots, crackers, and hummus; oven-baked fries dipped in hummus; a tortilla with avocado and salsa; a bowl of cereal; popcorn with nutritional yeast

For Muscle-Building Activities:

cake, birthday cake
Kelsey Coughlin

If you lift a lot, or engage in sports or exercises that put a great deal of strain on muscle tissues, eating protein within an hour or so of working out may help your muscles stimulate protein synthesis. 

However, it's important to distinguish that it's the exercises, not the protein, that will lead to muscle recovery, repair, and increased strength (so don't think pounding protein shakes will make you ripped). Even those who are looking to build muscle and engage in rigorous strength training do not require ginormous amounts of protein.

The average person needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, power athletes need only 1.2-1.7 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. Muscle-trainers should also befriend carbs, just like endurance athletes. Carbohydrates spare proteins from being broken down to make glucose when needed during exercise, so again, super low-carb diets aren't ideal here.

burrito, vegetable, pea, corn, beans, cheese
Santina Renzi

Some snack ideas include: a bowl of bean soup topped with avocado; a protein-rich regular or non-dairy yogurt with a sliced banana and berries; a smoothie with fruit, nut butter, flax, and chia; a smoothie with fruit, milk of choice, and protein powder; trail mix; almonds paired with a piece of fruit; a tortilla with beans and salsa; roasted chickpeas

For the Everyday Exerciser:

water, phone, IPhone, music, earphones, working out, Work Out, cardio, exercise, Exercising, fitness
Denise Uy

If you exercise moderately (20 minutes to an hour at light to moderately high intensity), you can't go wrong pairing some carbs with a bit of healthful fat and/or protein for a post-workout snack.

Go for real foods over whole packaged "workout" foods like protein bars and shakes when possible. In addition to any of the snacks listed above, try some of the other ideas below.

bread, hummus, vegetable
Christin Urso

Some snack ideas include: celery with peanut butter and raisins; veggies and hummus; crackers and peanut butter; a granola or breakfast bar; crackers and guac

Whatever you do to get moving, having a few ideas for what to eat after a workout can help you make solid and satisfying choices to keep you fueled throughout your day.