06/23/2015 08:38 am ET | Updated Jun 23, 2015

5 Snacks That Help You Get The Most Out Of Your Workout

There's nothing quite like that feeling you get after getting in a good workout. But before you get too settled into that post-workout glow, registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield says there's an important, often-overlooked step that helps ensure your workout was effective.

"All my clients look at me like I'm crazy... when I tell them, 'Look, after your workouts, you need to make sure you eat something,'" Scritchfield says in the above video from #OWNSHOW. "They say, 'Rebecca, why would I do that? Why would I erase the benefit of the workout?'"

It's because, she says, that's when your body needs it most.

"That is when your body is rebuilding and repairing and recovering," Scritchfield explains. "You actually need to feed your body instead of starve it in order to rebuild that muscle, replenish what was lost and to get your energy back up."

She adds that not eating after a workout can have a detrimental effect on the mind and body. "When people don't eat after their workouts, they're usually going to experience a dip in energy, probably lose some focus and concentration. You're also going to miss out on the opportunity for those muscles to rebuild and repair and get stronger," she says. "We need to get carbohydrates back in our bodies, we need to get proteins back and, if we're sweating, we need to get the fluids back, too."

The key in this refueling is to eat as soon as possible after working out, or at least within a 60-minute window. "That's when we see our bodies trying to do the most rebuilding and repairing," Scritchfield says.

As far as what to eat, Scritchfield points to a balance of carbohydrates and protein as being the ideal combination. Her favorite refueling foods include:

Chocolate Milk
chocolate milk
"Chocolate milk is a simple and convenient recovery food because we've got the fluids, and we've got a good balance of carbohydrates to protein."

green smoothie
"Smoothies work." (Not a big fan of the earthy taste? Here's how to make smoothies taste less "green.")

Maple Syrup + Milk
maple syrup
"If you don't like any of those options or just want to try something different, try two tablespoons of 100 percent pure maple syrup with milk (or the dairy product that you consume). That would give you a good ratio as well."

Dates + Peanut Butter
"Have three or four dates or prunes with peanut butter stuffed inside each one."

"I love the savory idea of doing whole wheat pita triangles with some hummus and veggies."

Even if you don't feel particularly hungry after a workout, Scritchfield encourages you to eat something anyway. Not only will this have a short-term effect on your body's rebuilding process, but it also has a lasting impact as well.

"It's actually going to help you reset your regular hunger and fullness cycles," she says.

  • The No-Bake Brownie
    The virtuous ingredient list -- which includes honey, coconut oil, almond butter, almonds, walnuts, dark chocolate, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, goji berries and oats -- is one reason to love these brownie-like bars. The other reason: There’s no oven required. Get the recipe: No-Bake Chocolate Almond Bars
  • The Nutritional Powerhouse For When You Feel Like A Nut
    The Almond Board of California
    Frothy egg whites are the surprising ingredient that help cinnamon and sugar stick to almonds in this simple roasted snack. The nuts are excellent sources of magnesium, which can help you feel more relaxed. Get the recipe: Cinnamon-Glazed Almonds
  • The Simplest Fruit-And-Chocolate Combo Ever
    Whether you prefer to think of this as a smoothie you eat with a spoon or a dairy-free pudding, there’s no arguing that whipped bananas and pears plus dark chocolate chips are a delicious combination. Use well-ripened fruit to ensure the finished dish is sweet and smooth. Get the recipe: Banana Pear Pudding with Chocolate Chips
  • Cookies With A Secret You’d Never Guess
    Prune puree may not sound sexy, but it’s a wonder ingredient: It can take the place of oil in many baked goods, and adds beneficial fiber. To make your own, combine a cup of pitted prunes with six tablespoons hot water in a food processor and run the machine until the fruit is smooth. (These cranberry-orange cookies also include applesauce, making them even better for you.) Get the recipe: Cranberry Orange Cookies
  • Another Delicious Reason To Keep Old Bananas
    You know brown bananas work well in quick bread, but it turns out they’re fantastic in cookies, too. Using very ripe fruit means you can reduce the amount of sugar; it also provides extra body, so you need less butter or oil. Quick-cooking oats give these cookies nice texture, too. Get the recipe: Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • The Holiday Indulgence We’d Gladly Enjoy Whenever
    This healthy take on fruit cake is just as flavorful as traditional versions, minus the extra calories. The recipe calls for dried cherries, raisins, apricots, figs and dates, but you can use any fruits you like. It also includes brewed tea and orange zest, which add bright notes. Get the recipe: Fruity Spiced Tea Cake