It’s tempting to reward yourself with a treat after a tough workout, but don’t let all your hard work go to waste by eating or drinking things that won’t make you feel (or look) your best. The number one ingredient to have in a snack post-sweat session? Protein.
Protein is made of important amino acids that are the building blocks necessary to help repair wear and tear on your muscles after exercise. Consuming the stuff has also been shown to improve muscle strength and boost fat loss — now that’s a real treat.
Here are 8 easy and delicious ways to pack in post-workout protein:
1. Protein shake
There’s a reason fitness buffs swear by them. Pre-made shakes, like Muscle Milk® Organic, pack as much as 15 grams of easily-digestible protein, providing you with a perfect grab-and-go solution for your post-workout recovery.
2. Apples with peanut butter + sunflower seeds
This sweet and salty combo is one of our favorite post-workout treats. Sliced juicy apples provide carbs for instant energy and are rich in potassium, which will help replace the electrolytes you’ve lost from all that sweating. Peanut butter and sunflower seeds are chock-full of proteins that keep you feeling fuller, longer.
3. Almond meal muffins
Who says muffins can’t be delicious and healthy? By substituting some of your all-purpose flour with almond meal, you add a powerful punch of protein that’s low in carbohydrates and naturally gluten-free. Need a low-maintenance baking idea? Try these tasty Apple-Carrot Morning Glory Muffins.
4. Chia pudding
Anti-inflammatory omega-3s in chia seed pudding help soothe sore muscles and joint pain after an intense workout. The super seeds are also a rich source of antioxidants and muscle-repairing protein. Prep your own pudding by mixing the seeds with a non-dairy milk (it makes the particles expand into a tapioca-like texture) and bananas, fresh strawberries or even pumpkin and spices.
5. No-bake granola bars
No bake and no fuss, these chewy homemade granola bars are packed with protein and fiber to keep you satisfied between meals and your muscles the nutrients they need to recover.
6. Raw trail mix
No time to whip up an elaborate meal? No problem. A basic bag of unsalted trail mix can help you refuel. Nuts deliver a healthy dose of muscle-fueling protein and good fats, while dried fruits are rich in simple carbs, making them easier for your body to digest so they can immediately be used to replenish glycogen lost during your workout.
7. Spelt bread with almond butter + chia seeds
The true wonder bread, spelt may prevent heart disease and diabetes thanks to its high fiber and protein content. Almond butter and chia seeds complete this quick and filling snack with antioxidants and added protein.
8. Hard-boiled eggs
Two of these breakfast favorites contain a whopping 12 grams of protein. Hard-boiled eggs in the shell can last up to a week in your fridge, so cook up a batch at the beginning of the week for a cheap and easy snack on the go — or slice them over your lunchtime sandwich or salad.