Keys to a Post-Game Meal

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On the court, Dwight Howard is a beast among men. His size and strength make him a prodigious physical force in the lane and help power his signature dunks, which have earned him the nickname "Superman."

For any athlete who wants to become an imposing force like Howard, proper post-game and post-workout meals are crucial. "When you put stress on your body during exercise, your muscles are ready to repair themselves," says Kim White, Gatorade Sports Science Institute senior scientist. "So, you have to give them the right nutrients."

According to White, a post-game or post-workout meal should include a mix of carbs and protein, both important for muscle growth. She says, "Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour after your workout, you want to get in 10 to 20 grams of protein. You also want to consume carbohydrates, up to a gram for every kilogram of bodyweight."

Howard is a rare, genetically-gifted athlete, and he knows the value of nutritious food. "One of my favorite meals is penne pasta with chicken and a fruit bowl," says the Magic center. "I try to get a healthy side in there, too."

Eat this dish, inspired by one of Superman's favorite meals, and reap the recovery benefi ts following your next workout or game.

On the way home...
Grab a Gatorade Recover 03 for the mix of protein and carbs your body needs after a workout or game.

Gatorade Recover 03
(per sixteen-ounce bottle)

Calories: 120
Fat: 0g
Carbs: 14g
Protein: 16g

At the table...
Try this meal, inspired by Howard's own diet.

Fruit Bowl (1 cup)
Replenishes energy stores as well as essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C.

Calories: 90
Fat: 0g
Carbs: 25g
Protein: 0g

Barilla Penne Whole Grain Pasta with Newman's Own Marinara Sauce (2 oz.)
The carbs in the pasta replenish depleted energy stores, which is critical for recovery.

Calories: 270
Fat: 3.5g
Carbs: 53g
Protein: 9g

Grilled Chicken Breast (4 oz.)
A lean source of protein gives your muscles the amino acids they need to rebuild after exercise.

Calories: 120
Fat: 1.5g
Carbs: 0g
Protein: 24g

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock