Top 5 Post Workout Snacks For Those Late Night Workouts

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Benefits of an Evening or Late Night Workout

Working out in the evening or late at night might be the only option some of us have! Not everyone wants to join the 5 AM club or has the option of exercising in the morning. There are some benefits to a night workout in case you were wondering before we get into those post workout snacks.

So, if those evening or night workouts are your only choice, go for it! Remember though, just as it’s important to get that exercise in, it’s equally important to fuel your body after for recovery.

It doesn’t have to be an entire meal as long you’re still getting in some key nutrients. So, let’s get into the science behind choosing post workout snacks for late night workouts.

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Post Workout Nutrition for Optimal Recovery

After doing a workout a night, it might be tempting to skip the post workout snack, but it’s essential to your recovery for three reasons.

Muscle Protein Synthesis

After working out, the muscles need protein to start repairing the torn muscle fibers. Muscle Protein Synthesis is increased after intense exercises and can last up to 36 hours. This is the prime time that your muscles are active in recovery.

Muscle Protein Breakdown

While Muscle Protein Synthesis is occurring, Muscle Protein Breakdown is countering that. This refers to the breakdown of muscle tissue due to exercise. Essentially, muscles are breaking down for energy.

Muscle Glycogen Synthesis

Glycogen refers to how the body stores glucose and it can be used as energy for later. That energy is used during exercise. So it’s equally important to replenish those glycogen stores in the liver and muscles.

For those late night workouts, you want a post workout snack that is going to be light on the stomach but also allow recovery for muscles overnight. It’s important to get a post workout snack with carbs and protein.

Fast Digesting Carbs

For optimal muscle glycogen replenishment choose a fast digesting carbohydrate.

  • Low in Fibre. Fibre slows the release of blood glucose, slowing down muscle glycogen replenishment.
  • Not too high in Fructose. Fructose has to be converted to glucose upon digestion and usually replenishes liver glycogen stores prior to muscle glycogen.
  • Low in Fat. Fat slows the release of blood glucose.

Why do you want a fast digesting carb?

When you eat carbs, your blood sugar rises in response. Depending on the carb, dictates how fast or slow. The pancreas will produce insulin based on the increased glucose. Through the help of the insulin, the liver cells produce an enzyme called glycogen synthase, which link glucose chains together. Through the increase of glucose and insulin, glycogen is delivered to the liver and muscles for storage.

Fast digesting carbs allow for quick replenishment of glycogen stores for overnight recovery.

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5 Post Workout Snacks at Night

Now that you know the benefits from evening or night workouts, and have a basic understanding of the best options for snacks, I’ll present you with my personal top 5 post workout snacks at night. These are meant to be consumed if bedtime is within 60 to 90 minutes.

Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese with Fruit

A good non fat greek yogurt or 1/2 cup of cottage cheese with fruit is my first pick. Pineapple is higher in carbs than most other fruits and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Try adding a cup of pineapple slices for a tasty sweet post workout snack. It’s not overfilling but quite satisfying.

post workout snacks at night

Tuna on Crackers

Those Starkist tuna packs hold about 17 grams of protein, perfect for stimulating protein synthesis, and taste delicious on some crackers. Normally I’d promote whole grain cracker for the health benefits, but this is your opportunity to maximize those refined carbs so enjoy those white crackers.

Banana and Peanut Butter

Even though, peanut butter on a banana is more inbetween slow and fast digestion wise, I find it to be a highly effective post workout snack at night. Bananas are high in potassium, which help prevent muscle cramps and help aid in soreness. Maybe save this snack for those higher intensity workouts. You’ll thank me in the morning.

And yes, peanut butter is actually good for you. If you stay away from the overly processed ones that have fully hydrogenated vegetable oil in the ingredients.

Chia Seed Parfait

This is slowly becoming a staple in my refrigerator. I mix a cup of almond milk with 3 tablespoons of chia seeds and allow to sit for a few hours. Add in some fruit and a scoop of protein powder and you have a great snack! It’s also full of antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids.

This snack would best be had after a low or moderate intensity exercise.

Protein Smoothie

Sometimes I want something simple I can mix up, so I opt for a protein shake low in carbs that I can mix with Almond milk and a fruit. Whey protein is a fast digesting protein perfect for protein synthesis, easily digested in 1 to 3 hours.

post workout snacks at night

The most important thing to remember is finding something that works for you! I always have a protein shake after I do evening workouts. It’s easy and I remember it. It’s become a habit. Maybe you’ll find something that becomes a habit for you as well, or maybe you’re one that likes to switch it up every night!

Whatever the case, it has to work for your lifestyle. Plan ahead and do it!

What are your favorite post workout snacks at night?

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10 thoughts on “Top 5 Post Workout Snacks For Those Late Night Workouts”

  1. Reading though this post opened my eyes to a lot of things which I never thought of, thanks a lot for this enlighten post. Am a lover of work out,  and also a foodie, I love eating while I workout, but I felt it’s wrong cause am trying to burn calories, while  add more to it,  but this post as made me realize I could achieve  both. 

  2. Hi Jodi,

    This is a great subject and I found the article very educational, this is a subject I did not really think about, but after reading your article I will now take more of an active role in my post workout snacks, as you have now highlighted the great benefits. I think this article will benefit many as more people are becoming more health conscious exercising and eating healthy foods.

    You have included great images and a wide variety of foods to suit different tastes. 

    Great article, well written, great information and images, just one question, Do you recommend organic or non organic foods?

    All the best and keep promoting health,


  3. It’s interesting to know how many perspectives there are out there on this topic. But then again so many people are unique. I honestly didn’t know that eating a post-workout snack is essential for recovery. Though I am aware that certain foods can help in the restoration of our cells. 

    Though I am a bit rusty when it comes to exercise mostly because I work a very physical job. I am walking and lifting products up to six hours some days which can consume a lot of energy. What advice would you give me in regards to this? I have tried exercising on off days but am not sure if I should let my body rest. Also, should I eat more snacks to restore the breakdown of my body during physical activity? 

    • It sounds like you have a very active job. I would say you could do one of two things.

      1. Eat a large meal, full of fiber and some healthy fat to keep you full and energized

      2. Eat some snacks every hour or two, if you are able. 

      Drink a sports beverage low in sugar. 

      As far as resting on your off days, does your job completely drain you? Do you feel like you need a rest? Listen to your body!

  4. Hey, that was a very good read.

    When did You mean 5 AM club were you citing Robin Sharma’s Book? It is a great book.

    I mostly work out in the morning and play a sport in the evening. It is really great to see how you have complex concepts like Muscle Protein Synthesis and so on very easily. I was easily able to understand what was being told.

    When I read all the biological aspects I thought that we had to eat some complex snack, but wow most of them seem, well like a snack. Also, what would you suggest for a post morning workout?


    • I wasn’t citing Robin Sharma’s book but it sounds like something I should read! Thank you!

      For morning, you could really have anything in the above post. But if you like more breakfast type foods I’d suggest some whole wheat or whole grain toast, butter, eggs. You could also have a bowl of oatmeal with fruit. Or make an egg omelet with mixed veggies.

  5. I am one of those persons who workout late evening. When I eat something substantial, after my workouts, I usually feel so uncomfortable by bedtime. I am glad that i came upon this article because I always wonder what to eat, and if I don’t eat, I wake up in the middle of the night, hungry. After all those explanations, I am glad you gave some examples of what would be a good snack. I like most of those listed and I am going to prepare them this evening. Thank you

  6. This article is just what I needed, I started a weight loss regime last year, and I’m dropping weight at a pretty steady pace. I plan to add macros as I reach certain weight goals. I know that I will need more carbs at some point, and from what I have read, the timing of the carbs seems to be pretty important. 

    I am one of the 5 am group. These snack ideas you provided will go very well with my breakfast. Thank you for this wonderful article.

    • Glad it could be of use! And congrats on your current weight loss!

      I have found that knowing your macros and getting them in is more important than the timing. Of course you want a carb snack after your workout. Sometimes before, depending on preference. 

      Best of luck to you on your journey!


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