The importance of eating optimally in between workouts cannot be taken for granted. Whether you’re into strength training, bodybuilding, or even powerlifting, your diet will always be a key variable affecting your progress.
The most important macro-nutrient you need in weight training is Protein. Even if you’re not weight training, you’ll need a good amount of protein anyway to maintain muscle mass and health.
Word on the street is that protein is expensive and can only be found in some foods like the immaculate steak. This, of course, like any other myth, is highly dubitable and incorrect. Protein is actually abundant in many common foods which you have quick and easy access to. So there really should not be an excuse to not getting enough protein intake.
Below is a compilation of 11 such sources of protein that are fairly inexpensive, common, and easy to access or prepare. If you’re a busy person who is always on the go, these quick and easy sources of protein would be lifesavers for you!
Eggs are perhaps one of the most efficient sources of protein. You can find them in abundance in any market or store for only a few bucks. One (1) egg packs 6g of high-quality protein, along with the other nutrients present in the egg. You can enjoy them hard-boiled, scrambled, poached, or in whatever way you like!
Just set out 5 minutes to prepare eggs and you’ll have in front of you a healthy protein-packed superfood in no time.
2. Peanut Butter
The peanut butter toast is a staple favorite protein-dense snack for many lifters. Yes, what might seem like an unhealthy creamy spread is actually packed with high amounts of protein due to the peanut content. A standard sandwich prepared with 1 tablespoon can contain up to 7g of protein – which is certainly not bad for a sandwich spread!
One can also use peanut butter as a protein-rich ingredient for various kinds of desserts or snacks. Think banana slices dipped in creamy peanut butter – high in protein and high in energy too!
3. Protein Bars
It can’t get more convenient than protein bars. Protein bars were literally invented to be easy and quick sources of protein. There are thousands of different brands over the world that make protein bars, so they should be fairly easy to find at your supermarket.
The amount of protein in these bars can vary significantly. They can have as low as 5-10g of protein per bar to as high as 40-50g of protein in bigger and denser bars. Consequently, the price varies a lot too. In any case, protein bars are not exactly merciful to your wallet. Due to the hard work companies put in to find and compress high-protein ingredients in a single bar, they usually have the power to sell them at a high price.
Milk is easily one of the most taken-for-granted sources of protein in existence. One glass of milk contains about 8g of protein on average. If you drink at least two glasses of milk a day, that’s an easy 16g of protein for the day, paired with all the calcium you’ll also get of course.
It must be mentioned, unfortunately, that milk is a fairly old-school option as a source of protein, but it works better than almost anything else. In fact, many lifters in the past used to follow a method called GOMAD – Gallon Of Milk A Day, in order to put on mass and gain weight quickly. People still do use this method, but you don’t hear about it often. GOMAD, however, is not advisable for everyone since you might have limitations to the amount of milk your body can handle, especially if you’re lactose intolerant.
5. Canned Tuna
Many people can’t handle tuna because of its notorious texture, taste, and smell. But if you belong to the luckier demographic that has no problem with tuna at all, make sure to utilize that and eat tuna as a source of high amounts of protein.
A typical can of tuna that serves one can have up to 30g of protein, making it an excellent post-workout meal. And, it’s fairly easy to prepare too!
6. Almonds and Cashews
Just like peanuts – almonds, cashew nuts, and even walnuts are also packed with protein. Almonds and cashews make for an excellent side snack to passively munch on during the day. Along with the protein, they also provide good amounts of healthy fat to the body.
7. Fish Oil
Now this one isn’t exactly a protein source. Rather, it complements protein and speeds up recovery and fights muscle or tendon inflammation. Fish oil also promotes muscle growth since it has Omega 3 fatty acids and DHA, which are also good for the brain, by the way.
Fish oil is a must-take supplement for every gym-goer out there. It is ideal for speeding up recovery and helps you progress smoother and faster.
8. Brown Rice
If you care about your health in serious terms, it would not be a wrong bet to guess that you’ve given up white rice by now. If you haven’t yet, please stop eating white rice and substitute them with brown rice or better yet, red rice.
Brown rice is higher in fiber compared to the plain old white rice. But what people usually miss out is that it is also higher in protein compared to white rice, which on the other hand is basically devoid of protein. So, if you haven’t already, consider switching to brown rice to get the most protein-value out of your carbs.
Yogurt, often seen as a mere dairy dessert, is seriously high in protein. Especially if we’re talking about Greek yogurt. Yogurt is basically an alternate form of milk in essence, so it’s naturally high in protein. Not only that, the cultured bacteria in yogurt also does a great deal of good to your digestive system!
The best part is you can buy ready-made packed yogurt if you don’t have the time to make your own. They’re usually inexpensive and come in small cup-sized packs, which usually have around 5g of protein.
10. Chicken Breast
Chicken breasts have been a staple source of protein for many centuries. A slab of white, lean, and tender juicy chicken breast can have up to 25-35g of protein, with minimal fat to go with. This makes chicken breast one of the best sources of protein since it’s light on your body.
Chicken breasts are also very easy to prepare and cook, unlike their beefier competitor, the beef steak. Tip: marinate chicken breasts with papaya and cook them in a little butter instead of oil to make them softer and juicier 🙂
We mentioned peanut butter, almonds, and cashews. But don’t forget thegood old basic peanuts! Peanuts come in all shapes, sizes, and geographical backgrounds. Whether it is salted peanuts or roasted Chinese peanuts, they all do a great job in satisfying your munching needs and at the same time providing you with the protein you need!