The Dude Diet: Post-Workout Meals

Truth be told, summer has tested Logan’s dedication to The Dude Diet and it has found him wanting. However, despite two very long Widespread Panic weekends, a Fourth of July meat fest, and our recent move to within 100 yards of a Chipotle, Logan can still button his pants, so all is not lost.

The one thing that I will say in the Dude’s favor is that he has really been stepping up his exercise game lately. Thanks to his love of outdoor activities, Logan got in at least one good workout everyday while we were out West. He’s been running, hiking, golfing, and noodling the night away at concerts (which I am including as exercise because it is surprisingly exhausting). Logan even biked up Vail Mountain by himself, which I found very impressive. Mountain biking is hardcore.

Hardcore.

When I remarked on the unusual intensity of Logan’s recent workout schedule, he said that he likes to take advantage of the outdoors and “punish his body” while he can. I have no idea what that means, but as long as it involves burning calories, I’m okay with it. Unfortunately, Logan’s eating habits of late haven’t exactly aligned with his healthy exercise plan. In fact, he seems to think that he can enjoy twice as much food because he’s been “working out like a maniac.” Clearly, it’s time that The Dude Diet tackled the issue of post-workout meals.

The post-workout food choices that Logan makes are truly mind-boggling. For some reason, he is under the impression that exercising, even very mildly, justifies eating “whatever Daddy feels like.” Unfortunately, “Daddy” rarely feels like a salad or a protein shake, and he prefers to go on an eating rampage after the average gym sesh. In his blissful, endorphin-filled haze, Logan will literally take down whatever his rapidly clogging heart desires, blacking out all Dude Diet guidelines and general decorum. (If you’ve ever seen a dude drenched in sweat, shoving cold pizza in his mouth with reckless abandon, you know what I mean.) It’s as if snacks and meals become fat and calorie-free when the Dude physically exerts himself. Magic!

I live for Logan’s sweaty selfies.

Weirdly, Logan also seems to consider sweating, regardless of whether or not it is linked to actual physical activity, as a workout/miracle weight-loss method that allows him to consume an extra thousand calories or so each day. He has been known to house a Reuben sandwich and fries on the regular after his executive workouts (“the executive”=steam, sauna, shower), and he regularly claims that he “sweats out like five pounds” on particularly hot days. While Logan is definitely the sweatiest person I have ever met, casually sweating is not a long-term weight-loss regimen. I have had to repeatedly remind him that he cannot use this perspiration problem as an excuse to indulge his Chipotle fetish all summer. Needless to say, he is not happy about this.

Logan also mistakenly believes that the fat-burning effects of a good workout/sweat last for multiple days. When I confronted him about his recent Meatloaf sandwich bender (I’m pretty sure he got one 3 days in a row), his defense was, “I went for two runs this week!” While I was very proud of his motivation (I have no desire to ever run twice in one week), Logan’s logic is clearly flawed. Unfortunately, if you go for a jog on Tuesday, you’re body is not still torching calories on Friday. Sad, but true.

Please note that Logan ran the NYC marathon in 2010. He probably thinks he’s still burning calories.

Unfortunately, I know many dudes who, like Logan, believe that semi-regular workouts act as an everyday hall pass to eat like a fat person. This is ridiculous. Your post-workout meals and snacks should refuel you and repair your muscles, dudes, not flood your system with unhealthy amounts of fat and sugar. Plus, eating lighter, more nutritious meals after exercising will make you feel better and look hotter. I am confused as to why so many of you have yet to figure out this simple fact.

When making your post-workout food choices, you want to go for a combination of approximately 60% carbohydrates and 25% lean protein to boost your energy and restore glycogen (aka muscle fuel). If you are excitedly imagining  (as I’m sure Logan is) that a burger falls into the “carbs and lean protein” category, think again, dudes. No more than 15% of your post-workout calories should come from fat, capiche? The cheese on your burger alone will probably put you over that threshold, and I don’t even want you to think about bacon and French fries.

Portion sizes are also key following your sweat sessions. When it comes to eating after exercise, keep this in mind: If it isn’t time for a meal, don’t have one. Contrary to Taco Bell’s ad campaigns, “Fourth Meal” is not a thing. Eating four large meals a day is unacceptable Dude Diet behavior. Instead, have a filling snack that combines carbs and protein and will keep you full until your next actual feeding time.

After your next workout, try some multi-grain crackers with a low-fat string cheese, fruit and yogurt, granola, an energy bar, toast with an egg or 1 tablespoon of nut butter, or a smoothie. Just to be clear, a snack should never exceed 300 calories. Wait at least ten minutes after finishing your snack before eating anything else. There’s a 99% chance that if you give your body a little time to register the food, you will realize that you’re actually full and energized. Doing this will help you avoid the binge-Zantac-nap cycle that Logan seems to favor post-workout.

Binge-Zantac-Nap cycle in action.

While we’re on the topic of post-workout calorie consumption, I would like to briefly touch on the excessive drinking of Gatorade in the dude community. If you are participating in a triathlon or spending the majority of your day at the gym, by all means, feel free to run a train on a case of Gatorade. However, chugging a quart of Gatorade after a thirty-minute run is a tad overzealous, dudes. Post-exercise hydration is essential, and yes, Gatorade is an excellent source of necessary electrolytes, sodium and potassium, but sports drinks also pack some serious calories and carbs that won’t do you any favors in the weight-loss department. So, please be more conscious of your “G-rade” intake and try drinking plain old water, or at the very least, switch to G2 immediately.

In the hopes of getting Logan to embrace healthier post-workout eating habits, I’ve created something dank that will satisfy a starving, sweaty dude without negating the effects of his workout. I proudly present The Dude Diet’s version of Peanut Noodles with Pork and Vegetables.

Peanut Noodles with Pork and Vegetables is bomb. Multi-grain spaghetti provides the necessary post-workout carbs, and tender pork loin strips pack more than 20 grams of protein per serving. (If you’re not into pork, you can easily substitute chicken or lean beef.) The creamy peanut sauce is nutty and slightly sweet with a kick of heat from Sriracha and fresh ginger. Thanks to reduced-fat peanut butter and no added oil, this sauce is actually very low in fat, and it can be made entirely from ingredients that you’re likely to already have in your kitchen, dudes. This recipe is also packed with broccoli and bell peppers, which means you’ll get more than a full serving of vegetables with a healthy dose of fiber, vitamin C, and anti-oxidants. Winning.

What I love about Peanut Noodles with Pork and Vegetables is that it takes about half an hour to whip up, and it can be eaten either hot or cold. So, if you happen to be doing the “cooking for one” thing, you’ll be psyched to eat the chilled leftovers for lunch or dinner. (I actually prefer it cold with lots of fresh lime juice and cilantro.) This versatile, crowd-pleasing recipe is a great option for potlucks, summer picnics and causal dinner parties, so try it ASAP.

For the record, the Dude fully endorses this “Pad Thai.” (I have no idea why he keeps calling it Pad Thai, but whatever.) Logan actually ate two plates of it last night because he wanted to “try this business hot and cold.” Although eating multiple servings of Peanut Noodles with Pork and Vegetables goes against the Dude Diet’s portion control guidelines, I let it slide this time. It’s too hot out to sweat the small stuff.

If you need more ideas for post-workout meals and snacks, I suggest you try the following: Sweet Potato Hash with Chicken Sausage and Fried EggsTurkey Italian SubsSpicy Pork Skewers with Grilled Sweet PotatoesChipotle Turkey BurgersDude Diet Burrito BowlsBasil Tofu Bowl with Stir-Fried QuinoaPenne with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe, and Hibachi Chicken with Un-Fried Rice. The Dude Diet and exercise never fails, friends. Your wonderland body awaits.

Peanut Noodles with Pork and Vegetables: (Serves 4)

Ingredients:
For the sauce:
¼ cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
2½  tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
For the noodles with pork and vegetables:
1 pound boneless loin pork chops, sliced into ¼ inch strips
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided (If you don’t have sesame oil, you can use olive oil.)
2 cups sliced bell peppers (I used a combination of red, yellow and orange.)
2½ cups broccoli florets
6 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
For garnish:
Lime wedges
Scallions, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Preparing your Peanut Noodles with Pork and Vegetables:

-In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce. Set aside until ready to use.

-Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. When hot, add your pork strips and sauté for 5-6 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Remove the pork from the pan and set it aside while you cook your vegetables and noodles.

-Add the vegetables to the non-stick pan with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and sauté until they are just tender, about 7 minutes.

-While your vegetables are cooking, cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, strain and set aside.

-When your vegetables are cooked return the pork to the pan and add the peanut sauce. Bring the peanut sauce to a boil and cook for 30 seconds.

-Add the spaghetti and toss until everything is well coated in sauce. (Using tongs makes things a lot easier.)

-Serve warm or cold with scallions, cilantro and lime wedges. Enjoy your post-sweat meal, dudes. You earned it.

Peanut Noodles with Pork and Vegetables

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

    For the sauce:
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
  • 2½ tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
  • For the noodles with pork and vegetables:
  • 1 pound boneless loin pork chops, sliced into ¼ inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided (If you don’t have sesame oil, you can use olive oil.)
  • 2 cups sliced bell peppers (I used a combination of red, yellow and orange.)
  • 2½ cups broccoli florets
  • 6 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
  • For garnish:
  • Lime wedges
  • Scallions, thinly sliced
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. When hot, add your pork strips and sauté for 5-6 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Remove the pork from the pan and set it aside while you cook your vegetables and noodles.
  3. Add the vegetables to the non-stick pan with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and sauté until they are just tender, about 7 minutes.
  4. While your vegetables are cooking, cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, strain and set aside.
  5. When your vegetables are cooked return the pork to the pan and add the peanut sauce. Bring the peanut sauce to a boil and cook for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the spaghetti and toss until everything is well coated in sauce. (Using tongs makes things a lot easier.)
  7. Serve warm or cold with scallions, cilantro and lime wedges. Enjoy your post-sweat meal, dudes. You earned it.
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  • Laura Phelan

    Serena, I made this last night for my boyfriend and I (who eerily has almost everything in common with Logan) sans pork for meatless Monday and it was freaking delicious! I’m making the halibut with corn salsa tonight for the two of us to finally attempt to get some fish into his stomach (I received the same speech about “fishy” fish). Wish me luck!

    • Serena_Wolf

      Laura, this is excellent news! I love the idea of this as a vegetarian meal (Logan refuses to call anything a “meal” that doesn’t involve meat, but we’re working on that.) Thrilled that it was a success. Godspeed with the fish and let me know how it goes! xo

      • Laura Phelan

        The fish were a rollicking triumph. Your recipes are the shit and so easy to cut in half for cooking for two! Whoop whoop!

  • Kiara Sexton

    Made this. It rocked. I used rice noodles, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli and hot chilis but otherwise left the recipe as is (sounds like a lot of changes but let’s be real, the sauce does the talkin’). AMAZING.

    • Serena_Wolf

      Thanks, Kiara! That version sounds ridiculously awesome. Great call on the rice noodles and hot chilies.

  • paigecorbin

    Perfection per usual. Subbed chicken instead of pork and served over quinoa. I want to put that sauce on everything!!!

  • Mrscomo

    Made this tonight and it was outstanding! Didn’t change a thing, oh except I added chopped thai cashews on top. I love this recipe!

    • Serena_Wolf

      Amazing! So glad it was a hit. I haven’t made this in forever, but I now feel it needs to be resurrected ASAP.

      • Mrscomo

        I also hadn’t made this in a while – it got replaced by the chicken with Mediterranean salad. Definitely bringing it back! Thanks for all the great ideas1