Research has consistently shown that consuming protein and carbs after a weight-training workout can speed recovery and optimize muscle gains.
But the so-called window for this nutrition doesn’t necessarily close within an hour (or even two or three hours, it turns out), as popular broscience would have you believe. According to a 2013 review, consuming a proteinrich, whole-food meal eaten up to six hours after a workout is sufficient to maximize gains, the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reported.
Whip up any of the following high-protein, nutrient-dense meals in the hours following your workout, and rest assured you’re getting the most out of your training.
SALMON & BROWN RICE PASTA WITH KALE PESTO
MAKES: 4 SERVINGS
2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed
Sea salt, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp miso paste
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
Black pepper, to taste
2 6 oz skinless salmon fillets
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp coconut oil
8 oz brown rice pasta, spaghetti style
1 cup cherry tomatoes
FOR THE KALE PESTO
1) Bring a pot of water to a boil and add kale. Cook 30 seconds, then transfer kale to a bowl filled with ice water and let sit for a minute. Drain in a colander.
2) In a food processor, combine kale leaves, salt, and olive oil. Pulse 10–12 times, or until finely chopped. Scrape down sides of processor, add miso, garlic, nutritional yeast, and pepper, and pulse until well combined.
FOR THE SALMON
1) Preheat oven to 425˚F. Season salmon fillets with salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
2) Place a nonstick, ovensafe pan over high heat and add coconut oil. Once oil has begun to shimmer, Place salmon fillets in pan and cook 1 minute each side, or until golden brown.
3) Move pan to oven and cook 4–5 minutes for medium-rare.
FOR THE PASTA
1) Cook pasta according to package directions.
2) Rinse the cherry tomatoes.
3) When pasta is cooked, toss with kale pesto and tomatoes. Serve pasta with salmon.
NUTRITION (PER SERVING): 375 calories, 15g protein, 59g carbs, 10g fat