If you’re like most people, you probably put a lot more thought into what you eat before exercising than what you eat after.
But working out — especially strength training — causes muscle proteins to break down, which is why it’s so important to eat a high-protein snack once your workout is over.
Protein gives your body essential amino acids that enable it to rebuild those proteins and build new muscle tissue so you can really reap the benefits of the hours you put in at the gym!
Here are 12 great high-protein snacks to eat after your workout:
Trail mix: Whether you buy it pre-made or create your own, trail mix is easy to take with you to the gym — or anywhere! Combine your favorite protein-rich nuts (use almonds or pistachios for extra protein), dried fruits, grains, and even chocolate for a delicious post-workout snack!
Nut butters: The same muscle-building protein you find in nuts are also found in nut butters! Grab a spoonful or eat it with an apple or celery for a nutrient-dense, satisfying snack. One medium apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter provides 4 grams of protein, plus fiber and other vital nutrients like vitamin C.
Hard-boiled eggs: Super portable and undeniably healthy, hard-boiled eggs are a perfect high-protein snack to eat on the go. Each egg is packed 6 grams of protein, plus essential vitamins and minerals.
Cheese: Healthy and filling, cheese makes a great high-protein post-workout snack. Just one slice of cheddar cheese packs 7 grams of protein, as well as bone-protecting calcium and other nutrients.
Canned tuna or salmon: Chock full of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, canned tuna and salmon are a healthy, convenient post-workout snack. Four ounces of tuna packs almost 20 grams of protein and four ounces of salmon, almost 30!
Turkey roll-ups: Place a few slices of turkey breast on a plate. Spread each one with a teaspoon of cream cheese, add a pickle, cucumber, tomato, onion (or whatever veggie you like!) and roll them into wraps for a yummy sandwich without the bread. Each wrap delivers about 5 grams of protein!
Edamame: One cup of edamame (immature soybeans still in the pod) provides 17 grams of protein, plus more than half of your daily dose of Vitamin K and 100% of your daily need for folate. Buy it frozen from the grocery store and simply heat it in the microwave. Add salt, pepper, or your favorite seasonings to spice it up.
Roasted chickpeas: A half-cup serving of chickpeas provides 7.5 grams of protein as well as 6 grams of fiber, keeping you feeling full after an intense workout. Roast some with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasonings for a tasty snack.
Hummus and veggies: Made from protein-dense chickpeas, hummus is a great high-protein snack, packing 6.5 grams in every ⅓ cup. Pair it with celery or carrots to add a serving of vitamins and minerals — and a satisfying crunch.
Greek yogurt: With 20 grams of protein per 1-cup serving, Greek yogurt is an ideal snack that also provides calcium, which is vital for healthy bones. Mix it up with granola or berries for a sweet and satisfying treat.