Wednesday, September 9, 2015

7 Top Protein Packed Snacks for Athletes

Ah, protein, the major building block for our muscles. As an athlete protein is very important to your diet, our bodies need it for hormone and enzyme production as well as building and repairing tissue such as muscle. If you want to build lean muscle, protein is key. I also found that when I started consuming more protein during my Whole 30, specifically when I would have a high protein snack after a workout, I experienced much less (if any!) muscle soreness. Protein is essential to muscle recovery after your workouts.

For athletes, it's important to make sure what you're eating is quality protein since most of us are also watching what we eat. I don't mean just watching it go into our mouths. We want to stay lean, only consume good fats, and many of us are watching our calorie intake. That means you need quality protein from healthy foods, the cheese on top of the half pizza you just ate is not the best post-workout snack. Just for you (aren't you special), I've compiled a list of some of the best, quick and easy, post-workout snacks that are packed with protein and won't push you over your calorie, carbohydrate, or sodium allowance.

Chobani Pumpkin Spice Greek yogurt is packed with protein
1. Yogurt - Greek yogurt especially is full of protein. I'm having a individual cup of Chobani "Pumpkin Spice Blended" (cause, hello, Fall! Everything should be pumpkin) Greek yogurt for breakfast right now. It's made with 2% milk, has 12 grams of protein, and is just 130 calories. That's 24% of the recommended daily value of protein. While I don't believe "daily value" recommendations should be the same for everyone, especially athletes, I put that as a reference just to show that 12 grams is a high amount of protein.

While I am eating a single serving cup right now, I also buy a big 32oz container of plain low-fat yogurt. This is great for making smoothies if you have the time, or just adding to a bowl with some fruit, which is what I normally do.

2. Jerky - We know meats are great source of protein, but it can be hard to have meat as a snack sometimes. Jerkey is great because it's portable and doesn't have to be refrigerated. You could easily stash a bag in your desk drawer, car, or gym bag. When buying jerky you have to look out for sneaky additives though, like carrageenan. Trader Joe's has some good options and they're not all beef either, they also have turkey and salmon jerky. Those options contain 11 and 9 grams of protein, respectfully. Lately, I like Oberto Natural Beef Jerky which has 13 grams of protein and 80 calories per serving. I've also found jerky to be a great option over potato chips as a road trip snack.

3. Eggs - Yeah, I'm tired of that one too. Eggs are actually one of the lower protein sources on this list at only 6 grams.

Peanut butter on a sweet potato pancake
4. Nut butters - Whether it's peanuts, almonds, or cashews, nut butters have a good amount of protein as well as healthy fats. Watch your portion sizes though, as it's easy to overdo the serving size which is typically 2 TBSP. Like eggs to protein to calorie ratio isn't as great as some other sources. For example. Justin's Classic Almond Butter is 150 calories with 7 grams of protein per serving. I like to use mine as a spread for apple slices.

Mmmmmm shrimp
5. Shrimp - Can you count shrimp as a snack? They're small, that makes them a snack, right? Shrimp is my protein of choice right now and it packs a punch! For a serving of 12 medium shrimp, you get almost 15 grams of protein in just 72 calories. That's more than 1 gram per shrimp.

6. Meat and cheese roll-ups - This was often my breakfast during the 21-Day Sugar Detox. I would just take a slice or two of thin provolone cheese, lay a slice of deli turkey on them and roll it all up. Two slices of Sargento Ultra Thin Provolone is 80 calories and 5.4 grams of protein. That protein is on the lower side, but combine it with a slice of Plainville Farms Oven Roasted Turkey Breast at approximately 25 calories and 5.5 grams of protein per slice and you've got 12 grams of protein at only 105 calories. Like with jerky, you have to look out for sneaky additives in lunch meat.

Chocolate milk (image credit DailyTrojan.com)

7. Chocolate milk - While most of the other options on this list are fairly low carb, I wanted to include chocolate milk since it's many runners' favorite choice for a recovery drink. A one cup serving of lowfat chocolate milk is 158 calories with 8.1 grams of protein. While I don't think it's the best choice given the other options listed, it's about equal to nut butters, and

it's still a great post-workout snack.

I know, I'm totally ripped from all this protein 
Do you make sure to get some protein in after a workout? What's your favorite protein snack? Please share in the comments!

4 comments:

  1. GREAT DAY!!!! Look at that muscle!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Post workout I look forward to some eggs with avocado or a protein shake with Growing Naturals Pea and/or Rice Protein Powder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I need to try some alternative protein powders, I've only had whey. Thanks for the comment!

      Delete

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