What are the best natural alternatives to protein supplements?

From endurance athletes to the weak elderly, many people nowadays consume protein supplements, which are no longer just used by bodybuilders. Protein is especially important if you lift heavy weights or do intense cardio workouts. Many people tend to reach for a protein shake or protein bars as their post-workout supplement. Along with this growth in popularity, however, come the dangers of taking these products and concerns regarding safety (read more).

Though protein supplements are the key to get protein in post-workout, it’s even better to get proteins from real food sources rather than bars, shakes, and powders. Here are a few natural alternatives to protein supplements.

Eggs

Eggs, especially hard-boiled ones, are easy to make in bulk and best as a post-workout food. Egg protein is extremely bioavailable, which means that it’s very easy for our bodies to absorb, and the muscles are able to use more of it. If you eat both the yolk and the white together, you get a complete source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids, as well as healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Moreover, egg whites are naturally free of fat and cholesterol, and are low in calories. Egg proteins are very high in branched chain amino acids (BCAA).

Hemp

Hemp protein, made from the hemp seed, is a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids that are important for building muscle. It is an excellent source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, that are beneficial to the heart and health of joints. Moreover, it has an impressive amount of BCAA, that is ideal for lean muscle growth and recovery. Hemp protein is high in fiber and doesn’t need any flavours or preservatives; it’s naturally delicious. You can sprinkle it on yogurt or cereal or blend a scoopful into a shake instead of protein powder.

Pea Protein

Most plant proteins lack all necessary amino acids; pea protein is one of the best plant sources. It mixes quickly and has an excellent BCAA content, which makes it the perfect choice for a post-workout protein shake. Moreover, it helps us stay full between meals.

Cheese

Cheese beats protein powder in nutrition, convenience and flavour. It provides that great mix of protein and fats you need after a workout. It’s not only tasty, but also contains muscle building protein, bone building calcium, and hormone balancing saturated fat.  Reach for organic, raw, or grass-fed cheese.

Cottage Cheese

Low-fat cottage cheese is loaded with high quality protein and amino acids. It is rich in casein protein, which is a slow-digesting protein that slowly feeds your muscles and is great for muscle synthesis.

Cottage cheese is low in fat, and won’t spike your blood sugar levels like many off-the-shelf protein supplements.

Whole-grain toast with peanut butter

After a hard workout, it is also important to refuel with carbs. By consuming high fiber whole-grain toast with peanut butter, you get complex carbohydrates, plant-based proteins, and healthy fats. This mixture of nutrients is best for muscle building and refilling glycogen stores.

Whole, real foods are nutritionally more dense than protein powders. They take longer to consume and are more satisfying. To maximize the results of your workout, make your next post-workout meal full of real food.

Fuel your body with the foods it was designed to eat!