5 High-Protein Foods You Should Eat After You Workout
Eating after you exercise is almost as crucial as the workout itself. WebMD notes that eating protein after exercising helps your muscles recover and grow, and ensures all of the hard work you just put in doesn’t go to waste. This doesn’t mean you need to go home and make a large meal containing hundreds of grams of protein, though — WebMD explains that eating 10 to 20 grams of protein will suffice. Wondering which foods you should be reaching for after your next sweat session? Here are five protein-packed foods perfect for your post-workout snack.
1. Greek Yogurt
Yogurt is a great food to eat after workouts, just as long as it’s Greek. Men’s Fitness states that Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as regular yogurt. “Mix it with cereal or fruit,” Dr. Louise Burke, head of Sports Nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport and coauthor of The Complete Guide to Food for Sports Performance: Peak Nutrition for Your Sport, recommended to Men’s Fitness. You’ll then have a snack that’s the perfect balance of protein and carbs. We recommend pairing your yogurt with berries; they’ll help fight muscle soreness.
According to SFGate, fat-free Greek yogurt contains between 17 and 20 grams of protein for a 6- to 7-ounce serving. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined you only need 20 grams of protein to promote muscle synthesis, which helps the body grow and repair its muscles.
2. Whey Protein Powder
Intense-Workout.com states that whey protein powder is the best source of protein to eat after a workout. Your body can digest a whey protein shake much faster than solid foods, ensuring you get a nice dose of protein promptly after your sweat session. It’s also a great portable post-workout snack; simply have your protein ready to go in a shaker cup and add liquid to it when you’re ready to start sipping. You’ll get more than enough protein per serving, as some powders contain up to 80 grams of protein, per WebMD.
Looking to give your whey protein a tasty flavor boost? Body Fortress has plenty of great shake recipes.
Eggs are the perfect post-workout food for two reasons: They’re high in protein and are also a great source of many other nutrients, which help your body repair after an intense gym session. According to Livestrong, one egg has 6 grams of protein, or 15% of your daily recommended value. Furthermore, eggs contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs to digest and absorb protein.
Steady Strength recommends having hard-boiled eggs on hand for your post-workout snack. Consider pairing your eggs with a piece of fresh fruit; its carbs will replenish your glycogen stores, which are usually depleted after a tough workout.
4. Chocolate Milk
Flavored milk, which includes chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, has a great carb to protein ratio and aids in muscle recovery and rebuilding, Rebecca Scritchfield, a D.C. nutritionist, told The Washington Post. Your post-workout snack should have a ratio of 4 grams of carbs to 1 gram of protein. To compare, an eight-ounce glass of 2% milk has 12 grams of carbs and 8 grams of protein.
In order to meet the recommended ratio, The Washington Post recommends adding a few more carbs to your after-workout snack. You can easily do this by blending a banana with chocolate milk, or drinking/eating the two separately.
Kefir, a fermented milk product, is a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, per Livestrong. Interestingly, kefir is made the same way as yogurt: Milk combines with bacteria and is allowed to ferment. The main difference is that more and different types of bacteria and yeast are used to create kefir, which has a tangy taste and a texture similar to pourable yogurt.
A serving of this dairy product packs a serious protein punch. Livestrong notes that one cup of kefir has 11 to 14 grams of complete protein. It’s also a good source of calcium and vitamin D.