What to Eat After a Run to Boost Recovery

Bounce back faster and stronger with these healthy staples.


We all know the importance of fuelling up post-race or workout — but some foods you eat after a run can restore muscles, strengthen bones, and reduce inflammation better than others. Wondering what to eat after a run? Stock up your fridge with these 30 nourishing products that help you recover faster and stay healthy through the season.

1. Greek Yoghurt

Your muscles are broken down during a workout, and protein is key for building them up again. Greek yoghurt, which contains more protein than regular varieties, is an easy snack to grab out of the fridge post-run. Try to opt for plain versions, which have about 6g of sugar and 15g of protein per serving—flavoured varieties can be sneakily loaded with sugar.

2. Oatmeal

Hearty, rib-sticking oatmeal not only warms you up after your sweat dries. It also provides complex carbs to help replenish depleted energy stores—without causing a crash later.

3. Tart Cherries

Studies have found that the antioxidants found dark-coloured fruits like cherries and blueberries can delay the onset of muscle soreness.

4. Avocado Toast

We know, avocado toast is the trend that won’t quit—but the combination of healthy monounsaturated fats from avocados and whole grains from toast makes for a great (and easy) post-run bite. Sprinkle on salt for a little extra sodium.

5. Cottage Cheese

If the last time you saw this food was at your grandparents’ house, it’s time to bring it to your own refrigerator. Cottage cheese is packed with protein and calcium, and its relatively high sodium content is great for recovering from sweaty runs.

6. Tofu

Whether you like it fried, roasted, baked, or added to a soup, tofu is an excellent source of protein (it contains all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein), iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

7. Eggs

This classic protein workhorse can be added to literally anything — try them fried on top of toast, tossed with brown rice for a healthy stir fry, or folded with veggies for a nutritious scramble.

8. Salmon

This protein-packed, superfood fish is also chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which can strengthen bones and help prevent osteoporosis.

9. Sardines

We know—prying fish from a can is a bit weird. But salty sardines, like salmon, are an excellent source of protein and bone-boosting fatty acids, as well as essential vitamins like B12.

10. Whey Protein

Whey protein has been somewhat neglected in favour of whole foods as of late, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good recovery food. Look for brands that are low in sugar, then blitz up with berries, oats and milk for a nutrient-rich smoothie.

11. Whole Grains

When you’re depleted after a run, it’s tempting to reach for a sugary granola bar. But whole and ancient grains like farro, quinoa, brown rice, and barley are a healthier choice for replenishing carb stores, as they also provide protein and fibre that’ll keep you full longer.

12. Mixed Nuts

A handful of nuts — such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and pistachios — goes a long way in satisfying your protein, fat and salt needs after a run. Plus, they pack minerals like calcium and zinc that boost bone health.

13. Ginger

If you’ve ever felt nauseous after a tough session, ginger is a lifesaver; but while the rhizome’s stomach-settling abilities are well known, its other benefits, like reducing inflammation, may be less so. Brew a pot of ginger tea for a warming recovery drink.

14. Milk

The no-frills staple shouldn’t be overlooked: one glass of skimmed milk provides about 10g of protein, plus bone-building calcium and vitamin D.

15. Bananas

This portable, easy-to-digest fruit offers a one-two punch of carbs and potassium, which can stave off muscle cramping.

16. Nut Butter

For a quick hit of protein and fat, nut butter—think peanut, cashew, or almond varieties — can be slathered on toast, stirred into yoghurt or melted and drizzled on a warm grain salad.

17. Broccoli

The cruciferous vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus — all nutrients that are crucial for maintaining healthy bones.

18. Dark Chocolate

Yes, you can indulge that sweet tooth — dark chocolate is a powerful antioxidant and can help to reduce inflammation. Aim for varieties that are about 70 percent cocoa.

19. Pineapple Juice

The citrus juice replenishes your carb stores, provides immune-boosting vitamin A and beta-carotene and can help reduce inflammation.

20. Beef

While you shouldn’t eat red meat every day, having beef after a long workout is a great way to replenish protein and iron.

21. Whole Wheat Pasta

Whole wheat versions of the go-to meal for runners offer protein, fibre, minerals, and complex carbs. Make a batch, then toss it with olive oil and veggies for a rounded meal.

22. Dried Fruit

While these foods can be sneaky sugar bombs, their high carb profiles make them great for a quick energy boost during or after a run. Figs, dates, and plums also provide fibre, which keeps you full between meals.

23. Turmeric

A staple in Asian cuisines for centuries, turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Add a shake of turmeric to hummus for a great post-run snack.

24. Sweet Potatoes

Packed with complex carbs, fibre, potassium, and iron, this starchy root vegetable is the perfect base for a post-run breakfast hash.

25. Kale

These dark greens are chock-full of vitamin K, which helps produce proteins that strengthen bones.

26. Tomatoes

These ruby fruits are one of the few foods that contain lycopene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of osteoporosis.

27. Blueberries

This bright blue superfood is the king of antioxidants — toss a few in your oatmeal or yoghurt to help reduce inflammation.

28. Watermelon

Like tomatoes, watermelon also contains lycopene, which reduces muscle soreness. Containing almost 90% water, the melon is also a great hydrator.

29. Chickpeas

These legumes are high in fibre and protein, which makes them a fantastic plant-based protein source. Toss them in olive oil and seasonings, then roast them in a hot oven for about 25 minutes for a crunchy, satisfying snack or topping.

30. Bone Broth

Made from simmering chicken bones low and slow, this popular broth is said to alleviate joint pain and promote healthy bones. After a cold run, sip it straight from a mug, or use it as a base for a satisfying soup.

READ MORE ON: healthy-foods recovery recovery foods

Copyright © 2024 Hearst