Chances are you've seen someone reach for a plastic shaker bottle after a workout, mix up some powdery concoction, and chug it as fast as they can. It might look unappetizing, but protein powder is a very popular post-workout drink because it's easy to chug on the go, and it often contains amino acids that help with muscle repair. But you don't have to drink protein shakes after a workout — there are lots of other ways to get the same nutrients.
The best thing you can drink after a workout is something that contains a combination of protein, carbs and sodium, says Torey Armul, MS, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Protein is vital for muscle tissue repair, and carbohydrates replenish your body’s glycogen stores," she says. And sodium helps to restore electrolytes that are lost in sweat.
Ideally, you should focus on replenishing your fluids after a workout and aim to eat foods that contain protein, instead of drinking something that checks both those boxes, Armul says. "Real food can get you there too, often with even more nutritional value," she says. But what should you drink besides water? Ahead are a few drinks that contain helpful macronutrients that will help you after a workout.