Looking for a healthy protein source to refuel? Here are 5 Real Food Alternatives to Protein Powder After a Workout.
Everyone knows it’s important to get adequate nutrition after a tough workout. Protein is crucial if you’ve lifted heavy or done an intense cardio session. Most people prefer protein shakes or bars as their go-to post-workout supplement. These snacks have been touted for a long time as the best form of recovery after a workout, but current research shows something quite different. While getting protein post-workout is still key, getting it from real food sources rather than bars, powders, or shakes is even better. This post outlines 5 Real Food Alternatives to Protein Powder After a Workout.
Protein powders are chemically isolated. It’s changed from its natural state, and thus our body does not know how to absorb and utilize it in the best way possible properly. In addition, protein powders have an exorbitantly high amount of protein in proportion to their fat content. The body cannot properly use protein without adequate fat intake, and thus consuming just protein after a workout is not efficient and can cause harm to your body in the form of vitamin depletion. So what should an athlete or avid gym goer do for their post-workout protein?
Well, we’ve got 5 Real Food Alternatives to Protein Powder After a Workout that not only deliver a great source of protein for your nutritional needs but also contain a host of other vitamins and minerals that protein powders lack. It’s a fallacy that protein requirements cannot be met thru real food options, and this list proves that!
5 Real Food Alternatives to Protein Powder After a Workout
Eggs, especially hard-boiled ones, are easy to make in bulk and great for a post-workout nosh! When you eat the yolk and the white together, you’re getting a complete source of protein, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and good cholesterol.
Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, or Kefir
Fat-free or low-fat dairy is an awesome post-workout snack, especially if you train at night. Cottage cheese is especially helpful because it’s high in casein, which is a slow-digesting protein that slowly feeds your muscles instead of dumping all the protein into your digestive system at once. It’s also extremely low in fat like Greek yogurt and kefir (look for the fat-free and low-fat varieties!), and won’t spike your blood sugars like many protein supplements. Have at least a cup and add some nuts or seeds on top for an extra hit of protein.
Chicken or Turkey Jerky
Who wants to cook a whole chicken breast after a workout? Even though a serving of chicken would be a great refuel, turkey or chicken jerky is much more convenient. Just make sure you’re looking for low-sodium versions without added sugar. Nick’s Sticks is a clean, healthy brand. For the amount of protein you’re getting, jerky is low in calories and fat, making it a great post-workout option if you don’t mind having something salty/savory.
Sardines or Tuna
Sardines are an incredible source of protein, and so is tuna fish depending on your preference. One ounce contains over 7 grams of real food protein and a ton of omega-3 fatty acids to properly absorb protein. Sardines also help reduce inflammation in your muscles and can decrease soreness. Mix sardines or tuna with plain Greek yogurt, dill, lemon, juice, white balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard for a quick n’ delicious seafood salad!
Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter
After a hard sweat sesh, refueling with carbs is also important. By pairing toast with peanut butter you’re getting complex carbohydrates, plant-based protein, and healthy fats. This key mix of nutrients is perfect for muscle-building and replenishing glycogen stores.
Protein powder can be good in a pinch….but whole, real foods are more nutritionally dense than protein powders and will always be superior. They also take longer to consume and are thus more satisfying. To maximize the effects of your workout, make your next post-workout meal full of real food instead of processed protein powders or bars!
Do you use protein powder after a workout?
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