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5 Best Junk Foods to Eat After a Workout

You left it all at the gym. After giving 100%, you're feeling ready for nutrients—now!

The only problem is, you don't want your usual protein shake. You're craving something that doesn't quite meet your typical nutrition standards. Instead of denying the craving when your body's begging to be refueled, choose a junky food that's actually going to help you recover. They're not replacements for your normal go-tos, but an occasional indulgence in these foods should be worry-free.

Celebrity trainer and nutritionist Jay Cardiello gives his insights on the surprising junk foods you can splurge on after a workout:

Bagel with Jelly

plain bagel with jelly
Carbs?! After a workout, this meal gets a yes. The low-carb dieter in you might think we're crazy, but the bagel itself is an excellent source of dense carbohydrates to help refuel muscles for recovery. And, though we'd love for you to look for a jelly that's as natural as possible, the spread boasts sugars that help send nutrients to your exhausted muscles.

Ice Cream

vanilla ice cream

The taste isn't the only sweet thing about ice cream. Sugars from the frozen treat help promote muscle building and prevent protein breakdown with the powerful insulin spike they cause. Cardiello says, "Ice cream can be beneficial up to two hours after a workout." So if you have the craving, jump on these incredible ice cream brands before you miss your chance.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

peanut butter and jelly sandwich
If you've got a quality peanut butter in your pantry, dig into this childhood staple with gusto. The massive amounts of protein and carbs you can get from this sweet and salty sandwich (between 20 to 30 grams and 50 to 65 grams, respectively) can refuel an overworked body in no time. Find out the best peanut butters we recommend for weight loss.

Chocolate Milk

chocolate milk diet

If you're a longtime Eat This, Not That! reader, you're already acquainted with our love of this nostalgic drink. Chocolate milk packs plenty of protein and carb to help you recover from your intense lifting session. Cardiello says, "What many people do not realize is that cow's milk contains about 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein in addition to a whopping 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrates, which makes it ideal for recovery." Want even more pointers for reaping the benefits of chocolate milk? (Hint: timing is everything.) Check our exclusive Chocolate Milk Diet for a full breakdown of how it works.

Children's Sugary Cereal

froot loops cereal

Refill your energy tank quickly with any of the cereals featuring quirky cartoons as mascots. The sugar in your bowl will guarantee a surge in your insulin level and fill your muscle glycogen stores. Cardiello says, "Getting [muscles] replenished quickly will aid in recovery and developing new muscle." Just don't start your day with this kind of sugar spike or you'll be napping before noon. Find out the five best sugary cereals we recommend you should pick up at the supermarket.


Courtesy of Men's Fitness

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