Tired of using protein powders with ingredients you can’t pronounce? So many of those post-workout shakes are stuffed full of artificial sweeteners and flavors, processed sugars, coloring agents, and synthetic nutrients that just aren’t going to help your body.
But you do need protein, especially as an athlete. The average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. That number is significantly higher for athletes: 1.1 to 1.4 grams for recreational and most competitive athletes, and 1.5 to 2.0 grams for athletes building muscle or involved in ultra-endurance sports.
So where do you get your extra protein if not from commercial protein powders? It starts with a good diet. And if you love the convenience of powdered proteins, there are some natural versions that are super healthy for your body.
Change Your Breakfast
You can start your day out with healthy proteins by making just a few simple changes to your diet. If you usually eat yogurt, swap regular yogurt our for Greek. It’s higher in protein and if you go for the plain variety it won’t have added sugars. If you’re a cereal person, try eating eggs instead. Or if you like oatmeal, stir in a few tablespoons of nut butter to add some protein.
Another great source of protein, as well as a whole lot of other good things, is our mBreakfast meal replacement powder. There are no fillers, colors, sweeteners, or other odd ingredients in this powder. Every single ingredient is something your body will use. You can turn this powder into a breakfast shake and drink that as your meal, or stir it into yogurt or cereal to boost your breakfast.
Choose High-Quality Meats
Meat is probably the natural protein people are most familiar with. Meats are complete proteins, meaning they contain all 20 of the essential amino acids. If you eat meat, that’s a good way to get all the amino acids the body needs. Just be careful about the quality of the meat you’re eating.
A 3-ounce serving of turkey, chicken, tuna or beef will give you about 20 to 27 grams of protein. But if the meat is heavily processed or wasn’t raised organically, you’ll be getting some unhealthy chemicals in there as well. Aim for eating a variety of organic, grass-fed meats that were minimally processed before they got to your kitchen.
Healthy Plant-based Proteins
Most plant-based sources of protein lack one or more essential amino acids. If you’re not eating meat, you’ll need to eat a variety of different plant proteins so they overlap and fill in the blanks. But even if you do eat meat, protein from plants are still a great way to naturally boost your protein intake.
Beans, nuts, and certain grains are fantastic protein sources. And you can use them in a huge variety of ways. Sprinkle almonds, pecans, or walnuts on your salads. Spread nut butter on your fruits. Try snacking on edamame (soybeans) or throw them in a stir-fry. Use beans and quinoa in your homemade veggie burgers or tacos. Add a variety of beans and lentils to soups. Use hummus, made from protein-rich chickpeas, as a creamy spread in salads and wraps.
Good Protein Powders
Protein powders are a super convenient way to add protein to your diet and they’re easy to use post-workout. When you’re looking for a healthy alternative to commercial protein mixes, we’ve got a few different things you can try.
Hemp powder is one of the rare plant-based protein sources that it a complete source of all the amino acids your body needs. Just two tablespoons provide 13 to 15 grams of protein. Plus it’s also rich in omega fats and healthy minerals, making it ideal for a post-workout shake. You can also blend it into yogurt or a smoothie, or add a scoop to soups, sauces, and baked goods.
Another good source of powdered protein is collagen peptides. Ours come from healthy, grass-fed cattle. Collagen supplies the amino acid glycine, which your body uses to build muscles, bones, skin, and tendons. It’s easily digested and can be mixed into warm or cool beverages. You can pick up mCollagen, hemp powder, and the mBreakfast blend in our Crucial Four store.