Protein promotes growth and repairs cells and tissues damaged by hard exercise. But not all sources of protein are equal. Many come with a lot of unhealthy saturated fat. These 10 snack suggestions are ideal for active people who need protein to recover from their workouts but don’t want to load up on calories. Enjoy them after you’ve cooled down and are ready to refuel.
1. Chocolate milk. One of the best post-workout drinks, chocolate milk gives you a healthy mix of protein and carbohydrates. Choose the low-fat or fat-free versions.
2. Greek yogurt. It has more protein than regular yogurt and has naturally occurring, digestion-friendly bacteria called probiotics. Keep the sugar to a minimum by topping plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts.
3. Nuts. While high in fat, nuts are rich in the unsaturated type, the healthy fat our bodies need. The best choices are almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans. Stick to a one-ounce serving since the calories can add up quick.
4. Hard-boiled eggs. Many athletes love hard-boiled eggs because they are easily portable and are rich in protein. One egg has 7 grams of protein. Egg salad made with light mayonnaise on whole-grain crackers is a great option.
5. Smoothie. There are so many different options when it comes to making a protein shake. A great option is 1/2 cup fruit of your choice, large handful of spinach, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 cup of your favorite milk and ice. These shakes are a good choice because they include a serving of fruit, vegetables and the protein that your body needs for recovery.
6. Ants on a log. Remember that childhood favorite of peanut butter on a celery stick with raisins? It’s a great snack for active adults, too. The raisins provide carbohydrates while the nut butter provides protein and unsaturated fat.
7. String cheese and grapes. Cheese is rich in protein and calcium, while grapes are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. Look for low-fat cheese.
8. Cottage cheese. A half-cup of cottage cheese has 14 grams of protein. Add with sweet ingredients such as fresh fruit or savory vegetables such as green onion, tomatoes and cucumber. Stick with low-fat cottage cheese.
9. Low-sodium deli meat. Sliced turkey or roast beef meat are packed with protein, and typically have less sodium and additives than bologna or processed meats. Roll up a few slices with mustard for a quick and filling snack.
10. Roasted edamame. Green soybeans, edamame, are often served as a snack at Japanese restaurants. Roasted edamame taste similar to nuts, but with a much lower fat content of only 4 grams per serving. A quarter-cup of edamame has a whopping 14 grams of protein. You may find them dried and roasted in the snack aisle at many supermarkets.
Do you have a favorite post-workout snack? Share it in Comments so we can all learn from each other.