12 Options To “Mix Up” Your Post-Workout Protein Intake
Without protein after your workout, your muscles won’t grow, you’ll lack energy, it will take longer for your body to recover.
Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on December 16, 2022
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Your body burns up a lot of energy and calories during a good workout, so it’s no wonder if you feel absolutely ravenous! You deserve to treat yourself, but it’s also important to get the protein you need to recover quickly and get the maximum benefits from all your hard work.
During a workout, you create tiny tears in your muscles. Protein is essential for repairing those tears. It also supports muscle growth and fat loss, which is why you’re working out in the first place. Grabbing fast food or junk food after your workout actually hinders your progress.
So, whether you’re rocking it at the gym on leg day or busting out some high-intensity interval training, scarfing down some protein afterward is key. Here are our favorite options for mixing up your post-workout protein so you can conquer your cravings and give your body what it needs, too.
12 Options To “Mix Up” Your Post-Workout Protein Intake
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Protein and Meal Replacement Drinks
Protein and meal replacement drinks are a fantastic way to get your post-workout protein and satisfy your hunger at the same time. They include all the nutrition you would expect from a complete meal, so they’re ideal for refueling after a tough workout.
In addition to protein, high-quality meal replacements include amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. They’re also available in vegan-friendly, gluten-free options, so there’s something for everyone. As an added bonus, they’re portable and come in a variety of delicious flavors. What more could you ask for?
Greek yogurt packs about seventeen grams of high-quality protein in just one cup, so it’s the ideal post-workout snack for muscle repair, growth, and recovery.
Eggs are a go-to protein source for good reason. You’ll get six grams of high-quality protein per egg and they’re incredibly versatile no matter what time of day. Pack some hard-boiled eggs to take with you or make yourself a veggie-filled omelet to keep things interesting.
Protein bars have come a long way in recent years and many of them are truly delicious. There are endless flavors and textures to choose and they’re easy to toss right in your gym bag. Look for low-sugar options that are high in protein, fiber, and complex carbs to boost your energy after a tough workout.
Green peas are a healthy and delicious source of protein with eight grams per serving. Of course, you can eat them as a side dish, but they’re also delicious tossed into a salad or turned into a tasty pesto.
Edamame is delicious, and it’s packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Keeping a bag or dry roasted edamame is a great way to ensure that you always have a healthy, high-protein snack available after your workout. Eat it as a nutty snack or toss it on top of a salad for some extra nutrition.
Not only is peanut butter packed with protein, but it’s also extremely versatile. Spread it on some whole-grain crackers, fruit, or a rice cake… or eat it right out of the jar. This calorie-dense food is also loaded with healthy fats to satisfy your hunger and give you an energy boost, too.
Many of us don’t think of cottage cheese as a healthy protein source, but this forgotten gem packs 20-grams of protein per serving. It’s great on its own or paired with fruit, on top of a salad, or as a simple side dish with almost any meal.
Tuna fish sandwiches aren’t just for kids. Tuna packs sixteen grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving. Even better, that same serving only has seventy calories and half a gram of fat. To make a quick and healthy post-workout snack, spread some tuna on whole-grain crackers, make a tuna salad bowl with lettuce and avocado, or try a tuna melt for a little variety.
In addition to being packed with heart-healthy fiber, beans can pack as much as twenty grams of high-quality protein per one-cup serving. They’re also low fat, vegan friendly, and super versatile. Mix them into chili, tacos, salad, or rice… the options are practically endless.
Hummus is made from chickpeas, and you can make it yourself or find it pre-made at just about any deli. It comes in a variety of flavors and makes a great dip for pretzels, pita chips, whole grain crackers, or veggies. If you’re craving a crunchy snack after your workout, hummus is a great choice because it contains five grams of protein per serving, as well as some healthy fats, and it doesn’t have a ton of calories.
Chicken is an easy go-to protein source for after your workouts to build muscle and speed recovery. Preparation options are endless, from rotisserie chicken at the deli to diced chicken breast tossed on a salad, in a burrito, or serve it as the main course with any meal.
While commitment and strength are vital to any training program, nothing can replace proper nutrition. Without protein after your workout, your muscles won’t grow, you’ll lack energy, it will take longer for your body to recover. Fortunately, there are lots of great protein sources available, so you can mix things up as much as you like.
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