Powders, bars, shakes – it seems like there’s an infinite number of forms that protein can come in. So what way is actually the best way to get your protein, and how much of it should you be getting for a healthy, balanced diet?
If you’re an athlete, you need more protein than the average person. Workouts, if done right, usually break down muscles so that when they later repair themselves, the muscles come out stronger. So if you’ve had a particularly intense workout, you need more protein than usual. Generally, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 66 to 94 grams of protein for a female athlete, and 84 to 119 grams of protein for a male athlete.
Here are 6 different ways to get your protein, ranging from an on-the-go snack to a full-on meal:
Any kind of soy will do for a packed form of protein that caters especially to the vegetarians or vegans out there. Whether it’s tofu, edamame or soy nuts, it’s especially important for non-meat eaters to get their daily dose of protein. 1 cup of tofu generally has 20 grams of protein, so plan accordingly for your workout!
- Fish & Lean meats
Salmon is a great source of essential omega-3 acids, but if your plan allows for it, lean meats like turkey and chicken are essential and great options to avoid the mercury often contained within fish. A serving of 200 grams of salmon typically has 40 grams of protein, while turkey and beef vary depending on the percentage of fat – so check the label!
Protein powder usually isn’t made out of just protein – only 70% or so of the typical whey protein contains the good stuff. Mix whey powder in a shake with other protein-packed ingredients like plain Greek yogurt.
The magical fruit gets a bad rap sometimes, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that beans are high in protein. A typical tablespoon of black beans contains almost 3 grams of protein. Pack them in a snack, or if you can’t handle eating them alone, add them to your salads.
A classic on the go way of getting essential protein is the protein bar. Labels vary, but we’d be lying to you if we didn’t think that the protein series of Rise bars are the very best way of ensuring you get your daily protein. Plus, enjoy the comfort of knowing that your bars are free of gluten, GMOs, soy (if you’re avoiding it) and preservatives.
The most basic of on-the-go nutrition, nuts contain nearly 4 grams of protein per tablespoon. Whether you eat them alone or pack them in smoothies or salads, you can be sure they’ll deliver a satisfying crunch – and essential nutrients – every time.