It's Fit Food Friday again! Today I'm highlighting one of my very favorite "foods" (well, in this case it happens to be a beverage...), chocolate milk! Chocolate milk has really gained popularity in recent years for being an ideal recovery drink and for good reason! Research shows that chocolate milk works as well (if not better) than some of those pricy specialized recovery drinks. Let's breakdown the nutritional components of chocolate milk and see why it's a great option for runners or fitness fanatics:
Quite obviously, since chocolate milk is a liquid, consuming it post exercise automatically replaces fluids lost from sweat during exercise. In addition to fluids, it provides the electrolytes sodium and potassium, which also need replacement following sweat losses.
The best benefits of a post-workout chocolate milk comes in the ideal combination of protein and carbohydrates. The simple sugars in the milk and chocolate syrup provide rapid replenishment for glyogen-depleted muscles. After a tough workout, proper refueling will lead to improved recovery and better performance during subsequent exercise.
As an added benefit, chocolate milk provides vitamins and minerals like calcium and Vitamin D, which are often lacking in our diets and are essential to healthy muscles and bones.
The type of milk you choose depends on personal preference and how it fits into your nutrition "budget" in terms of calories and fat. As always, it's important to remember that some athletes have GI issues and may not tolerate milk or dairy products well. However, chocolate milk is definitely a fantastic option for anyone who wants to try to eat more "real" foods and less process, engineered products. After your long run or workout, try replacing those chalky protein/recovery drinks and with a nice cold glass of chocolate milk!