Quality post-workout nutrition assists muscle recovery and supports your healthy lifestyle and fitness goals. Eating cottage cheese in your post-workout meal gives your body protein and carbohydrates for muscle recovery.
Cottage cheese is available in regular, low-fat and nonfat varieties. Low-fat cottage cheese gives you a nutrient-rich snack that's low in saturated fat, making it a good choice for post-workout meals for weight loss. This portable dairy product also has specific health benefits for your bones and muscles that can keep your body in good condition for a lifetime of workouts.
Cottage Cheese and Muscle Recovery
Low-fat cottage cheese provides benefits for fitness. During a workout that places demands on your muscles, such as weightlifting, it's normal to experience tiny tears in the muscle tissue. This minor damage to muscles and the repair process result in the muscles becoming stronger.
The American Council on Exercise recommends consuming a snack consisting of both carbohydrates and protein after a heavy lifting workout. Carbohydrates replace the muscles' fuel, glycogen.
Protein helps to build muscle — but also helps build connective tissues, antibodies, enzymes, hair and blood. According to Harvard Health Publishing, one-half cup of cottage cheese provides 14 grams of protein.
One amino acid, glutamine, is particularly valuable in helping the body recover after a heavy workout, and endurance athletes may deplete glutamine. Cottage cheese supplies glutamine, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Mixing fruit into cottage cheese adds sweetness without sugar, healthy fiber, more vitamins and minerals and can turn plain cottage cheese into a treat. A snack of cottage cheese can help to fill your protein needs if you miss a meal.
Simple additions for a post-workout cottage cheese snack include apples, peaches, nectarines, berries or cherries, frozen mangos, pineapples, bananas and dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries or raisins. For a savory snack, mix in a slice of avocado cut in chunks with a spoonful of chunky salsa or a handful of chopped celery and nuts.
Focus on Hydration
Cottage cheese is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than hard cheeses such as cheddar or creamy cheeses such as brie, making it a healthier post-exercise snack choice for your heart and your waistline.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, low-fat cottage cheese is 82 percent water, making it relatively high in water compared to many other protein foods. Cottage cheese can improve your hydration after a workout, helping to replace fluid lost through perspiration.
Boost Bone Health
Consuming cottage cheese after a workout not only provides protein, it can contribute to bone health, too. Cottage cheese is a good source of calcium. A single 1-cup serving of 1-percent milk fat cottage cheese provides 138 milligrams of calcium, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. That's 14 percent of the daily value of calcium, based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Adequate calcium intake and regular weight-bearing exercise help maintain bone strength and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Calcium"
- American Council on Exercise: "Four Ways to Help Your Body Recover From a Big Lift Day"
- USDA National Nutrient Database: "Cheese, Cottage, Lowfat, 1% Milkfat"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "DL-Glutamine"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day?"