5 Healthy Apple Recipes To Try After Exercise, Say Dietitians
The autumn-favourite fruit is full of nutrients that replenish your body, making it a great ingredient in a post-workout meal.
Although apples can be enjoyed year-round, they are particularly popular in autumn—and they fuel the body with myriad benefits that can improve overall health.
For example, apples are a great source of fibre, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and can also help you feel full. Just one medium apple provides 14 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C for adults, which plays a role in the growth and repair of tissues in your body. Apples are also rich in antioxidants, which fight off free radicals and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.
Apples can also be part of a post-workout recovery meal, since they're packed with carbohydrates, a macronutrient that's key for muscle recovery.
(Related: Eat These Foods Before Exercising, Says a Registered Dietitian)
"Apples are a great source of complex carbohydrates that help you replenish lost glycogen stores that are used as fuel during physical activity", said Lisa Moskovitz, RD, who also said that apples provide a powerful antioxidant known to increase energy and blood flow as well as benefiting post-workout recovery and fatigue.
Why a Post-Workout Recovery Meal Is Important
"Working out can be depleting and intense physical activity is also stressful on your body—a good stress, but a stress nonetheless", Moskovitz said. "Stress can increase inflammation and risk of injury. For that reason, it's imperative that you choose foods that fight inflammation and promote optimal post-exercise recovery and repair".
Experts recommend eating a meal post-workout to rebuild damaged tissue and replenish energy during the anabolic window, or the time frame following your workout when your muscles are repairing and recovering. Although previous research indicated the anabolic window was just 30 minutes after a workout, recent research found that high-protein recovery meals can be consumed 4 to 6 hours after exercise.
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN noted it's key to include both carbohydrates and protein in your post-workout meal to promote proper recovery.
(Related: Dietitian-Approved High-Protein Snacks to Eat After a Workout)
5 Healthy Apple Recipes
1.Crunchy Yoghurt Apple Sandwiches
"Post-workout, the goal is to refuel with simple carbohydrate and high-quality protein to start the recovery process", said Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD.
Goodson recommended making mini sandwiches using apple slices, vanilla Greek yoghurt, and high-protein granola clusters. To prepare it at home, cut the apple in half and core it, then slice it up. Spread a small layer of vanilla Greek yoghurt and top off an apple slice with granola clusters and then top with another apple slice.
"Apples and granola provide you with simple and complex carbohydrates to help replenish energy stores burnt during exercise", Goodson said. "Greek yoghurt provides the high-quality protein you need to help your muscle fibres repair and rebuild".
By choosing high-protein granola, Goodson said this post-workout apple recipe will get you the recommended 15 to 25 grams of protein recommended in the post-workout window.
"The goal is to eat as soon as you can after a workout to kick your body into recovery mode", Goodson said.
2.Baked Apple Porridge
If you prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, Maggie Michalczyk, RDN recommended her baked apple porridge for a tasty workout recovery breakfast.
"Oats are a good source of fibre, specifically beta-glucan, which is a soluble fibre that helps you stay fuller for longer, among other benefits", Michalczyk said. "The apple and oat combination will help replenish your muscles and help ensure that you're fuelled for longer post-workout. They also both contain antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage".
- Mix the dry ingredients together first, which includes 1.5 cups old-fashioned oats, 1 tbsp ground flax seeds, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp ground (or fresh) ginger, 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Then, mix the wet ingredients together, which includes 1/2 cup pumpkin purée, 1 medium apple (peeled and diced), 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1 egg.
- Next, combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Pour the batter into a greased baking dish and then bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned. Drizzle with nut butter and extra apple if you have it. Then, cut into squares and serve.
3.Cinnamon Apple Raisin Doughnuts
These may not be the most traditional of doughnuts, but they're tasty nonetheless. Moskovitz shared an easy post-workout apple recipe that requires doughnut-shaped apple slices with cottage cheese and other delicious toppings.
- Slice an apple in half, then scoop out the core or centre of the apple.
- Slice the apple into 6mm "doughnut" slices (a medium apple should yield around five to six slices).
- Spread a thin layer of cottage cheese, sprinkle with dried raisins and cinnamon, then drizzle the tops with smooth almond butter.
"Almond butter is an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense fat that not only tastes good but offers staying power to satisfy an inevitable increase in hunger after exercise", Moskovitz said. "This ultra-nutritious nut butter can also give you an energy boost while simultaneously replenishing lost vitamin and mineral stores due to intense exercise".
She added that cottage cheese is an excellent source of complete protein (as it offers all nine essential amino acids required for muscle building and repair), packing 12 grams per 1/2 cup serving.
"It also provides electrolytes such as sodium and potassium that are lost during heavy sweat sessions", Moskovitz said.
4.Peanut Butter Apple Toast
"This snack has a nice balance of fibre, protein and fat and is loaded with antioxidants to combat oxidative damage", Manaker said.
To make, toast a slice of wholegrain bread, spread on some natural peanut butter and top with apple slices. Sprinkle the nutritious snack with cinnamon and hemp seeds.
"Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to strengthen your immune system and stress response", Moskovitz said.
Hemp seeds not only boost the protein content of this snack (providing three grams per tablespoon), but they are also a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation and mitigate delayed-onset muscle soreness and damage.
5.Apples with Cottage Cheese and Cinnamon
As cottage cheese is a powerful post-workout source of protein, Manaker offered a satiating snack combination with cottage cheese in the spotlight. Simply mix together some cubed apple pieces with cottage cheese and cinnamon in a small bowl.
"Keeping the skin on the apples before cubing them allows for some serious fibre, which can help promote satiety", she said. "The cottage cheese provides high-quality protein along with nutrients that support bone health. And, of course, the apple is your carb source".