Chicken, eggs, fish, greek yogurt, beans, and nut butter are probably the most common high-protein foods that people tell you to eat post-workout for gains. However, there are plenty of other high-protein food sources that may surprise you. Many whole grains, vegetables, and cheeses provide a surprising amount of the muscle-builder, and adding these foods onto your plate can drastically bump up your protein intake. I have your post-workout feed sorted.
Sweet potatoes contain both starch and protein. A cup of baked sweet potatoes contains 4 grams of protein, which is about as much as a half cup of low-fat milk. You could totally eat baked sweet potato by itself, or as a side with some rice, meat, and other vegetables. Another way to incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet is by blending them into your smoothies, with milk, banana and nut butter. Tasty!
Goat cheese isn’t just a tasty way to up your calcium intake. Goat cheese is also a surprisingly good source of protein, with 6 grams per ounce of semisoft cheese. That’s just as much as one large egg. Woah, who would’ve thought! A really yummy post-workout feed is a grown-up PB&J. Instead of peanut butter and grape jelly, spread a 1/4 cup of goat cheese on whole-wheat bread with 2 tablespoons of strawberry preserves.
Just like Popeye taught us when we were kids, spinach is the perfect muscle food, serving up 5 grams of protein per cooked cup. Other greens aren’t far behind on the protein meter. You’ll get 3 grams of protein from a cup of cooked Swiss chard and 4 grams of protein from a cup of cooked collard greens. It’s easy to incorporate leafy greens into your meals for a hearty, protein-fueled, nutrient-dense diet. Have them as a side dish, chuck them into your smoothies, purée them into a sauce.
You might not think of itsy little peas as a nutrient powerhouse. However, a cup of green peas packs a whopping 8 grams of protein—that’s more than any other vegetable. Unless you can get your hands on freshly picked peas from the farmers market (usually in the springtime), buy frozen green peas. They’re just as nutrient-dense, and they often taste sweeter, since they’re flash-frozen at the peak of freshness. Green peas make for a great side dish, tossed into a salad, or even on their own as a snack.
You should never feel guilty about eating a big bowl of noodles again. Why you may ask? Because a cup of cooked whole-wheat pasta isn’t just a big bunch of carbs, it also has 7.5 grams of protein. If you’re sick of having your pasta with tomato sauce, try something new. Add 2 cups of cooked, cooled whole-wheat pasta into frittatas or crustless quiches along with your choice of vegetables. Nutritious and delicious.
Be sure to fill up on these surprising and yummy protein-filled foods for your post-workout meal, to get the most out of your sweaty workout.