This 3-Ingredient Avocado and Cottage Cheese ‘Protein Toast’ Is the Perfect Post-Workout Snack (Sports RDs Agree)

Photo: Getty Images/ GMVozd
If you’re like me, deciding what to eat right after a workout is always a struggle. There are two routes, and two routes only: I either find myself with no appetite at all, or my tummy’s been rumbling since I was midway through my first mile. Regardless, I keep my eyes on the prize—because replenishing your body after a strenuous workout is just as important as what you eat before you hit the gym.

To help squash any confusion regarding what to eat right after you’ve wrapped another a sweaty pilates workout, we recently caught up with a leading sports dietitian, who (spoiler!) recommends eating a small, post-workout “appetizer” before tackling a bigger meal later on. So naturally, when we found this three-ingredient cottage cheese toast recipe that's loaded with protein, we knew we had a snacktime winner on our hands. More ahead on the key nutrients to feed your body right after a workout and why this simple toast recipe hits the mark on every level.

The ideal components of a 'post-workout appetizer'

According to Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN, the lead registered dietitian for the Kansas City Chiefs, eating a snack right after working out but before enjoying a larger meal is the move for maximum recovery. “After exercise, I recommend cereal and milk, yogurt and fruit, or cheese and crackers. The goal immediately post-exercise is to have an 'appetizer amount' of food. Let your body relax and then have a full meal later,” Bonci shared with Well+Good.

The idea is to allow your body to cool down before eating an ultra-nourishing meal a little later. When choosing the perfect post-workout appetizer, Bonci says it should be well-balanced and have two key elements: protein and carbs to assist with recovery. In addition to a healthy snack, you should always pair it with plenty of water or a hydrating beverage to replenish any lost fluids.

“For the meal post-exercise, the protein on your plate is important, as well as replacing electrolytes and providing the added value of omega-3s for the anti-inflammatory effect to help your body heal and minimize any pain from training,” Bonci says.

Why this 3-ingredient cottage cheese toast is the ideal snack for after working out

In a recent TikTok video by @bakedbymelissa, Melissa Ben-Ishay shares her super simple three-ingredient toast recipe that’s as easy to make as it is timeless. She adds about a tablespoon of olive oil (omega-3s, check) to a pan. Then, she carefully places a slice of bread (carbs, check) in the pan, ensures the surfaces are covered with oil, and seasons it with a pinch of salt on both sides. Next, she toasts the bread until golden brown on one side and flips it. On the crispy side, she adds a generous amount of garlic powder. Once the bottom side is toasted, she transfers it to a plate. Pro tip: Ben-Ishay recommends placing the toast balanced on the lip of a plate, so there’s airflow underneath the bread to prevent sogginess from the trapped heat.

@bakedbymelissa You can do it #food #recipe #fyp #fypシ #asmr #viral #learnontiktok #tiktoktaughtme #easyrecipe #healthy #foryou ♬ original sound - Baked by Melissa

Now, the most important ingredient: a few heaping tablespoons of cottage cheese (protein, check). In the video, she uses Good Culture organic whole milk cottage cheese, which has a whopping 14 grams of protein per half-cup serving (about 28 percent of your daily value). Not to mention, cottage cheese is considered a great source of many essential nutrients.

“The protein in cottage cheese is considered ‘complete,’ as it contains all nine essential amino acids. Not to mention the fact that it's also a great source of vitamin B12, phosphorus, calcium, and selenium, to name a few,” Leah Johnston, RDN, a culinary nutritionist and certified registered dietitian at SRW, previously shared with Well+Good.

“The protein in cottage cheese is considered ‘complete,’ as it contains all nine essential amino acids. Not to mention the fact that it's also a great source of vitamin B12, phosphorus, calcium, and selenium, to name a few."—Leah Johnston, RDN

Johnston also notes that cottage cheese is an ideal post-workout snack for optimal recovery. “Thanks to its high-quality protein, cottage cheese is also an ideal workout recovery snack. Consuming adequate protein after a workout is key to muscle recovery and repair,” she told us. What’s more, Johnston points out that the iodine in cottage cheese supports the body’s metabolism by promoting the release of thyroid hormones, and the B vitamins in cottage cheese are essential for converting food to energy. Aside from a delicious post-workout snack, this three-ingredient cottage cheese toast is a slam dunk.

An RD shares a guide to alternative cheeses:

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