In schoolyards everywhere, elementary school kids are snacking on a terrific post-workout muscle-building snack. That old lunchtime staple, PB&J, contains the ideal ratio of carbohydrate to protein (4 to 1) needed after a workout. Who said eating healthy had to be expensive?
The cheapest of the three ingredients, peanut butter, is a nutritional powerhouse. (Read nutritionist Chris Mohr on natural peanut butter.) Peanuts contain the muscle-building amino acid arginine and the anti-inflammatory antioxidant resveratrol, which aid muscle recovery and reduce muscle and joint soreness after intense exercise and sports. Natural peanut butter has heart-friendly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, and athletes especially need strong, healthy hearts for muscular endurance during demanding practices and games.
Be adventurous and go beyond the typical PB&J sandwich; peanut butter also pairs well with other foods. Try these other tasty muscle-building snacks that include peanut butter. But first, be sure to purchase only natural peanut butter. The label ingredients should list only peanuts and salt—no additives like sugar and unhealthy trans fats such as partially hydrogenated oils.
Instead of jelly, mash a high-carbohydrate and mineral-rich banana and spread it on whole wheat or whole grain bread with two tablespoons of peanut butter. Bananas are a natural sweetener in place of sugary jelly.
After a challenging workout, here's an easy, quick snack to prepare. Spread peanut butter on sliced apples and follow the meal with a tall glass of chocolate milk, which has high carbs and moderate protein.
This is a high calorie nutritious and delicious post-workout shake, designed for athletes who need to gain size for their sport. Mix two tablespoons of peanut butter, one mashed banana, and two cups of chocolate milk in a blender.
This is a lighter calorie post-workout snack for athletes wishing to maintain weight. Mix two tablespoons of peanut butter and two tablespoons of raisins and spread on two celery sticks.