Solution: After bouts of exercise, especially a longer, harder workout, you want to replenish energy as quickly as possible.
Studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If you eat soon after your workout, you can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness. You'll want to consume primarily carbs, but don't ignore protein. A good rule of thumb for post-workout food is a ratio of 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbs. Nutrition bars, such as Clif builder bars or other all-natural bars with a good source of protein, fiber, and low in saturated fat, are healthy options. Other examples would be a bagel with peanut butter or a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt (plain or low or non-fat Greek yogurt is best).
If you feel like you can't stomach solid food immediately after your workout, try drinking some low or non-fat chocolate milk. Chocolate milk provides plenty of protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins -- making it a great recovery drink. And cold chocolate milk tastes pretty refreshing after a workout. Making sure you eat within 30 minutes of finishing your workout may require some planning. Try to think ahead and make sure you have recovery foods available when you end your bout of exercise.