By Janet Luhrs, www.simpleliving.com
When you’re working out regularly, doing your strength training and cardio – it’s really important that you build lean muscle mass. And that requires additional protein in your diet.
Not too many of us want to consume more meat, so take a look at this fabulous list of plant-based protein sources. And remember, it’s best to eat your protein within 30 minutes to an hour after a workout. That’s how you’ll re-build muscles faster.
Here you go!
- Chia Seeds: These little guys pack an incredible 11 grams of protein in every 2 tablespoon serving. Add some yummy crunch to soups, salads, baked goods and casseroles. I add a few tablespoons to my oats in the morning – just pour some raw oats in a bowl, add a few tablespoons of chia seeds, and pour boiling water over this just to cover. Let it sit for maybe 5-10 minutes until the oats and chia seeds have softened. Top with fruit and almond milk.
- Cottage Cheese: This is a great low calorie/high protein snack option – especially mid-afternoon. Dip in some crunchy sweet peppers and carrots to add their fiber and vitamins to help you fight off the temptation for empty snack calories.
- Spinach: Yep, you heard that right, this power packed veggie is one of the best green sources of protein with over 4 grams per one cup of cooked spinach! Who knew?
- Nuts: Add almonds, cashews, pumpkin and sunflower seeds to any salad recipe or stir fry. I keep a baggie of mixed nuts in my purse and it’s very effective for my afternoon ‘crunch crave” while adding important protein at the same time.
- Quinoa: This fabulous rice and pasta alternative is making a hit and for good reason. I sometimes eat it in the morning as a breakfast cereal, alternating it with oats (add fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, raisins and almond milk). You can also substitute it for pasta, or add cooked quinoa to muffin or pancake batter for an added protein punch, since it’s one of the highest sources of protein and other healthy minerals.
- Protein powder shakes: Add whey protein to any fruit or veggie shake after your workout and you are facilitating some important muscle recovery.
- Eggs: Go for the perfect protein and keep a bowl of hard boiled eggs on hand in the fridge as a sneaky way to not only add protein but fight off snacking urges. Make a batch of flourless egg muffins to take you through breakfasts all week long. There are endless recipe variations to keep your taste buds happy and start your day out right.
You can see that adding protein to your diet is easier than you thought. With just a bit of advance planning, you will have improved your daily protein intake considerably. We would love to hear some of your tricks of the trade!
Featured photo source: Pixabay.com