After a good yoga class, it's important to refuel your body with the right kind of food. Proper nutrition and re-hydration are key to recovery so your body is prepared for the next class. Yoga can be taxing on the body and can deplete your energy stores. A small snack or light meal packed with easily digested carbohydrates and some protein is the perfect post-yoga fuel.
When to Eat After Yoga
It's best to eat within about 2 hours following your yoga session. While it's dependent on the duration and intensity of your workout, your glycogen stores may be low and it's important to fill them back up to not feel overly tired.
If your next meal is more than a few hours away, or you won't have access to many options, a post-yoga snack is key. Something small and easily digestible like fruit or a protein shake will help hold you over until your next meal.
Hydrate immediately following your class and try to eat something nutritious within 2 hours after your class or as soon as you feel hungry.
What to Eat After Yoga
Regardless of when you finish your class, eating a mix of carbohydrates and protein after yoga is ideal. Carbohydrates help to replenish glycogen stores and protein aids in muscle repair. A small snack or light meal that includes both carbs and protein is the perfect post-yoga fuel.
If you complete your class later in the evening a lighter volume meal is likely preferred to a larger meal. Eating too large of a meal may cause indigestion and make it difficult to fall asleep.
If your class is earlier in the day, a larger meal may be preferred. You'll want to have some additional calories to help keep you fueled throughout the day.
Many people opt for a protein shake or protein bar. If you're looking for something more substantial, try some of the ideas below. Some good post-yoga carb and protein combinations include:
- Whole grain toast with nut butter
- Bowl of oatmeal with cottage cheese
- Fruit smoothie with greek yogurt or milk
- Veggie wrap with hummus or chicken
- Quinoa or bean salad with grilled chicken or fish
No matter what you choose to eat after yoga, be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drinking water before, during, and after class will help your body recover and prepare for your next session.
What to Hydrate with After Yoga
Immediately following yoga, water is typically your best option. Those that are heavy sweaters may opt to add some electrolytes to their water as needed. Pedialyte, Ultima Replenisher, LMNT, Liquid IV, and other to-go packets are good options that you can keep in your gym bag or car.
A quick at-home post-yoga workout drink can be made by adding a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon or lime added to water. This will help to replenish electrolytes lost during your yoga class. This at-home option allows you to control the amount of sugar in your drink.
If you're looking for something other than water, coconut water is a great option. It's naturally high in electrolytes and helps to replenish fluids lost during your workout. Coconut water has good natural sugar in it, which can help to replenish your glycogen levels after a hard workout.
Finally, everyone's favorite - chocolate milk. The simple sugars in chocolate milk help to replenish glucose in your muscle tissues and the protein helps rebuild muscle, similar to what protein shakes do.
- Water is typically best
- Consider adding an on-the-go electrolyte packet
- If at home, some salt with fresh lemon or lime juice added to your water is an excellent option
- Coconut water is also a great option with good, natural sugar.
Best Post-Yoga Meals and Snacks
If you finish your session in the evening, the below are a few of our favorite carbohydrate and protein snacks:
- Hard-boiled egg with fruit
- Small bowl of non-sugary cereal with skim milk
- Fresh fruit and quinoa
- Greek yogurt with granola and fruit
- Protein shake or bar and a handful of nuts
- Banana with nut butter
- Apple slices with peanut butter and other fruits
- Smoothie with any mix of fruits, veggies, and protein powder
And if you're looking for something more filling after your morning yoga class, try one of these ideas:
- Omelet with whole-grain or whole wheat toast
- Scrambled eggs with whole-grain toast
- Yogurt bowl with granola and fruit
- Smoothie bowl with yogurt, milk, and fruit
- Vegetable omelet with whole grain toast
- Arugula salad with grilled chicken or fish
- Turkey sandwich with tomato and greens on toast
What to Avoid Eating or Drinking After Yoga
- Sugary sports drinks
- Fried foods
- Heavy dairy products
- Sugar snacks - cookies, candy, chocolate, etc.
Should you do yoga on an empty stomach?
Generally no. It's recommended that you eat a light meal or snack 1-2 hours before yoga.
If you practice yoga first thing in the morning, you will likely be okay. Many people prefer to do workouts on an empty stomach as long as it's the first thing they do in the morning.
However, if you are practicing at the middle or end of the day and haven't eaten, you may experience a headache, fatigue, or dizziness during class. You may want to wait until the next day to get your practice done.
Can I drink coffee before yoga?
Yes, but keep in mind that coffee is a diuretic and can dehydrate you. While it can provide an energy boost, inadequate hydration prior to a workout, especially hot yoga, can be dangerous.
Additionally, too much caffeine can make it difficult to focus and calm the mind during yoga.
What should I not eat before yoga?
You should avoid eating anything too heavy before yoga. A big meal can make you feel sluggish and weighed down during class. Avoid alcohol, fried foods, dairy, or any carbonated beverages in the 2 hours prior to class.
Additionally, you should avoid eating anything overly filling or that may cause gas or bloating. This can be uncomfortable during yoga and can make it difficult to focus on your practice.
Can we eat food immediately after yoga?
Yes, you can eat after yoga. It's important to replenish your energy stores after a workout and to rehydrate your body. A small snack or light meal packed with easily digested carbohydrates and some protein is the perfect post-yoga fuel.