Although everyone’s nutrition needs vary based on their workout regimen and their own unique needs, there’s one thing everyone has in common: protein is a crucial part of building strength. Especially when you’re recovering from a hard workout, protein is important for repairing your muscles.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information says “recent evidence indicates that ingesting protein and/or amino acids prior to, during, and/or following exercise can enhance recovery, immune function, and growth and maintenance of lean body mass.”
You might already have a favorite protein supplement or preworkout formula you’re taking, but getting extra protein from real food can be a welcome way to mix it up.
If you’re on the go, here are a few easy, portable ideas for extra protein intake.
Nuts are the classic building block of protein dense snacks. With 5 grams of protein per average quarter cup serving, almonds are a great default. Stack.com suggests peanuts and pistachio as other high protein options.
Men’s Health refers to the combination of nuts, a hardboiled egg and an apple as “the ultimate trio.”
Even if you’re not going for the complete trio, hard-boiled eggs are an easy to prep food that is quick to eat on the go, especially if you peel them in advance. If you’re still mastering the right boiling times, Delicious Meets Healthy has some handy rules of thumb.
Deli meat is another easy grab-and-go food, as long as you choose the right kind of meat. “Popular meats like salami or bologna are full of protein, but also full of fat,” Very Well Fit says. Others keep an eye on sodium content. Just make sure you get the right ones.
“If you like to snack on lunch meat, choose chicken, turkey, ham or roast beef. A single 2-ounce serving of most brands will provide 9-13 grams of low-fat protein.”
If you’re OK with some healthy fats, you can opt for the heavier meats or even add sliced cheese and roll them up together.
Another classic meat option is jerky, a timeless trail food.
Healthline says that an average serving contains 9 grams of protein per ounce. Although you can find jerky made from a wide variety of meats now, a closer look at store bought packages often reveals added sugars and unnecessary preservatives.
For a cleaner, cheaper jerky, you can always make it at home. Bonappetit offers tips on making your own (even if you don’t own a dehydrator).
Peanut Butter and Apple
Although nuts have already been mentioned, their natural cousin peanut butter warrants its own entry.
As mentioned above, peanut butter on apple is a timeless staple. Spoon University suggests grabbing single serve cups of peanut butter and bringing along other fruits and veggies, like celery or a banana, when you want to mix it up. An average serving of peanut butter has 7-9 grams of protein.
There are countless recipes and ways to create protein balls. Many start with the base ingredients of peanuts and oats, and add other helpful ingredients (anything from shredded carrot to raisins to coconut) depending on taste and need.
Good Housekeeping compiled more than 40 different recipe options for making your own. If you’re wanting less time investment, health conscious brands like Larabar sell them in most health food stores.
Now that you’ve got some better fuel plans, it’s time to schedule your next workout! Visit Texan Fitness for the next stage in your fitness journey.