There is such thing as a healthy yoga diet. Depending on the type of yoga you have just experienced, your snack of choice will vary after completing your practice. For Iyengar, or less active yoga, you will definitely need something different than say Ashtanga or Bikram yoga, which are both more flowing and speedy types. Making sure to get the nutrition you need at all times is obviously optimal, but of course particularly necessary after an hour or more of movement, whether resting in poses or flowing quickly in a heated room. Water, though quite obvious, is still necessary to mention, as keeping hydrated is the first priority at all times. The following snacks are perfect for all degrees of post-yoga appetites.
5.) Avocado Whole Grain Sandwich
If you are ready to start a healthy yoga diet, an avocado sandwich is a nutritious, hearty and well-combined meal. The best thing is that it won’t leave you feeling too heavy, but instead, comfortably satisfied. Filled with healthy fat, some alkaline vegetables and whole grains, this is an excellent meal for yoga enthusiasts as it helps muscles and joints to recover. Avocado also contains plenty of fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, potassium and magnesium, all of which help with re-energising and muscle recovery. It is also detox friendly, as it moves out of the stomach within 3 hours, as opposed to a chicken or beef sandwich, which would take up to 8 hours to sludge through.
4.) Green Smoothie
Green smoothies are one of the great after yoga snacks as they provide a quick delivery of nutrients to the muscle cells and are easy to digest. The leafy green vegetables provide iron which aids in energy production. They also contain magnesium which helps with muscle recovery. Carbs should be included in the smoothie to replenish the muscle’s glycogen stores that become depleted. It’s also important to make sure that the liquid base to your green smoothie does not include added sugar to stay within healthy yoga diet standards.
You need a liquid base: unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, or water
Fruit: bananas, berries, oranges, grapefruits
Green and leafy: spinach, kale, romaine, beet greens
Protein (optional): beans, almond butter, greek yogurt
Healthy fat (optional): avocado, cashews, coconut oil
Superfood (optional): chia, flaxseeds, goji berries, acai
A delicious green smoothie recipe (via nutritionstripped.com):
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of coconut water (or double the water)
- 1 large bunch (5 heaping handfuls) of organic lacinato kale/regular kale
- 5-7 large stalks of organic celery, chopped
- 1 large head of organic romaine
- 1 organic apple, cored and chopped
- 1-2 bananas, chopped
- 1/2 cup organic cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 cup of cilantro
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup of parsley
- 4 brazil nuts
For a simple green smoothie: Simply blend 1/2 a banana, a handful or more of a berry or fruit of choice, a handful or more of greens of choice (I particularly enjoy spinach, kale and lettuce), some almond milk and stevia to sweeten. This makes for an excellent cleansing smoothie that is easy to digest, tasty, and hearty. Add superfoods of your choice for added nutrition and a plant-based protein powder for those with additional protein requirements.
Fruit are an excellent addition to one’s diet in general, and if consumed on an empty stomach after exercise, including yoga, they are particularly cleansing and nutrifying. I would suggest fruit as after yoga snacks or if you are on a detox program or simply trying to cleanse a bit. Fruit are filled with healthy, easily digestible carbohydrates and enzymes that help to break down nutrients and deliver them to tired muscles. Experiment with fruits! Try berries, bananas, apples, oranges, passionfruit, pineapple, papaya, grapefruit, cherries, or whatever is in season in your region!
Pineapple: contains bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory to help muscles recover
Bananas: natural sources of energy to help re-energise the body
Oranges: loaded with Vitamin C, antioxidants and micronutrients that replenish lost energy and nutrients
Watermelon: mostly made up of water to help with dehydration
2.) Coconut Water
Coconut water is an excellent electrolyte-rich beverage that makes it ideal for a post-active-yoga beverage, such as Ashtanga, Bikram, a level 2 or higher class, or simply any yoga class that has you sweating and losing electrolytes. No healthy yoga diet is complete without a fresh cup of coconut eater! If possible, make your own coconut water by cutting open a young Thai coconut and pouring the contents out into a glass container. Keep the meat for blending into a smoothie, raw pudding or raw cheesecake. If you don’t have much time for doing this however, buying it in a carton or bottle is fine – just make sure it’s not made from concentrate.
1.) Fresh, Raw Juice
Fresh, raw juices are great after yoga snacks as they’re essentially liquid energy, providing immediate nutrition to the body. The vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients, and plant water are as bioavailable as is possible after a yoga class, as through yoga you have utilized all of the muscles in the body, allowing them to be ready to receive nutrients. Fresh raw juice can be made at home, at most health food stores, or as a delivery service (check your city for juiceries). Add this receipe to your healthy yoga diet list!
For raw fruit and veg juice, try this blueberry-pomegranate (via active.com)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups red grapes
- 3 stalk celery
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
Keeping a yoga practice consistent and active is optimal of course, and we do need to work with our body’s changing needs. These after yoga snacks will be perfect after your yoga session. Bringing together yoga and healthy eating could really make a difference in your overall health. If you are not very hungry even after an intense practice, go with the juice, coconut water or fruit. If you’re ravenous after a slow and easy class, then have an avocado sandwich or even have a look at our other post-workout meals. These are all detox-friendly with varying degrees of heartiness, so feel free to choose the one that feels best to you.