Imagine coming home after a long run or a tough workout and making yourself a cold glass of chocolate milk. Some may think that sounds amazing but others might find it rather unappetizing. Chocolate milk has gained a cult following over the years as the "food" of choice when it comes to workout recovery.
The reason? It meets the magical 4:1 carbohydrate + protein mixture that research has shown to enhance muscle recovery after exercise.
I reached out to Registered Dietician Carly Siceloff to get the download on whether chocolate milk is really the end all, be all and what other foods are optimal for post-run recovery if milk isn't your thing.
Carly agreed that the carb to protein ratio is important to adhere to for successful muscle recovery and muscle protein synthesis. The carbohydrate stimulates an important hormonal response: insulin secretion. This is important because insulin allows glucose and amino acids to enter into muscle cells, thus leading to faster recovery and muscle gains.
Carly did not agree that chocolate milk the only option to meet those ratios and shared five other foods that offer the same benefits. These alternative foods are ideal for those with dairy sensitivities or those who just can't stomach dairy after a tough workout.
1) 8 ounces plain soy milk and a banana
2) Oatmeal and nut butter
3) Whole grain bread and hummus
4) Dried fruit and nuts
5) Fruit smoothie with protein powder
So while chocolate milk is a good option, it's not the only option!
Tell us, what's your favorite post-run recovery meal?
Carly Siceloff is a registered dietitian who lives in Charlotte's South End neighborhood with her husband Tony. She works full-time as a consultant for Morrison Healthcare and spends her days analyzing nutrients and building menu databases for hospital accounts. Carly enjoys strength training, Flybarre, hot yoga, traveling, blogging at HowDairyYou.com and protecting the planet.