Recovery food: yogurt

It seems I’m always reading somewhere that the ideal post-workout recovery snack is a glass of chocolate milk.  They talk about the excellent balance of carbohydrates and protein, and how it promotes weight loss and stuff.  I’m sure this is all more or less true.  I would take issue with their constant emphasis on low-fat dairy products if I weren’t so distracted by the way no one ever ever says, “By the way, plain milk is fine too.”  Why it needs to be chocolate, I don’t know.  Just because it’s more palatable?  And why does no one ever mention that if you drink the milk plain it contains less sugar, and is therefore even more nutritious?

I can’t bring myself to drink a glass of milk, even if it’s chocolate, so after a run, I generally eat yogurt.  I make my own, according to these instructions for making homemade yogurt.  I incubate mine for a full 24 hours to make sure the bacteria have eaten up all the lactose, otherwise it makes me sick.

Sweetening yogurt sort of cancels out its pro-biotic benefits, unfortunately, so I rarely put even honey on mine anymore.  If I want to sweeten it I sprinkle some granola on top, which of course, does contain sugar, but at least then I’m also eating oats.  24-hour yogurt will be pretty tart, especially if you’re accustomed to Yoplait.  If you’re not sensitive to lactose, you can incubate the yogurt for 4-6 hours for a sweeter product.

You can read more about yogurt’s extensive health benefits here.  People who tell you that yogurt isn’t the amazing health food everyone says it is are talking about the wrong kind of yogurt, I think (or they’re just tired of hearing the word “pro-biotic,” which I totally understand).  Unsweetened whole milk yogurt is wonderfully nutritious, and I would say, a better recovery food than chocolate milk.  Or plain milk.  Because they won’t tell you this, but it doesn’t have to be chocolate.

Leave a comment


  1. Glen

     /  28 October, 2011

    Plain yogurt by itself wouldn’t do it for me, especially after a cardio workout – I need some carbs, otherwise I’m forgetful and find it hard to concentrate. A piece of fruit or toast with preserves seems to help. Lately I’ve been having some (chocolate) instant breakfast powder in whole milk, or the vanilla flavor in fruit juice.

    • Whether I eat something with the yogurt depends on how long it will be until my next full meal. The experts say you should have your recovery snack within a half hour of finishing your workout, and plan to eat a full meal within an hour. I eat more carbs after a demanding workout or if I have to wait longer for a full meal.

  2. I am so intrigued that you make your own yogurt. I will have to try it out sometime. I do like a glass of chocolate milk sometimes (I think the chocolate serves the purpose of more carbs), but I’d love to have some homemade yogurt. Nice post!

    • I was intimidated by it for a long time, but once I finally tried it, I wished I’d done it sooner. It is really very easy!

  3. Aurelia

     /  28 October, 2011

    In someone’s defense (I’m not sure who’s), I did once read that plain milk is the actual goal for recovery, but that the chocolate makes it more palatable. My husband drinks chocolate milk after a long ride, but next time he wants to try it with dark chocolate syrup.

  4. Aurelia

     /  28 October, 2011

    Or is it “whose”? I was never sure about that one. Is “who’s” only ever the contraction and never the possessive? And whose is always possessive?

    • I believe “whose” is the possessive.

      Dark chocolate syrup — can’t go wrong there! In that case, you can talk about all the antioxidants you’re getting.


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