Before working out it’s important to ensure your body is properly nourished and fuelled to provide the energy you will need to exercise. Post workout protein snacks are also a great idea to aid muscle recovery and replenish the protein that is broken down in muscles during the exercise.
The average sedentary man needs 56g of protein per day and the average sedentary woman needs 46g (source). Advice on how much to consume both pre and post-workout varies, but most studies suggest 20-30g with some saying have half before and half after the exercise, with another suggesting 20g post-workout is the best method (source).
Luckily getting enough protein is easy and delicious. There are several great ways to satisfy your taste buds, even as a vegan, and get your protein fix. Here are my favourite four ways to top up protein after a gym session:
Homemade energy balls
I actually treated myself to a food processor purely for this purpose – to make myself homemade energy balls! They are so easy and quick to make with a few ingredients. Plus, they’re super versatile so you can use whatever dried nuts, seeds and fruits you have to create different and tasty combinations each time. You can get the protein from the nuts and seeds you blend in (100g of mixed seeds provides approximately 30g of protein) and you can also mix protein powders in too.
For some inspiration, check out a couple of my homemade energy ball recipe blog posts:
If you don’t have time to make your own protein snacks, then there are lots of delicious readymade protein bars available to buy. Even for those like me who are super fussy and avoid added refined sugar, soy and milk, you can still find delicious bars to satisfy your taste buds. And, even more amazingly, you can even find chocolate flavour bars such as the chocolate protein flapjack squares, chocolate and vanilla snack bites and chocolate brownie bites I was recently sent to sample from Nutreelife. These convenient bite sized protein snacks are in individual packs so you can grab a couple, chuck them in your gym bag and go, without the hassle of preparing any snacks or buying ingredients. They’ll satisfy any naughty chocolate cravings you have without any unwanted ingredients such as soy, refined sugar, wheat, gluten or dairy. Just natural ingredients that are good for you.
If you’re not feeling hungry, or you want an extra boost of fruit and veg, why not make a smoothie with your favourite protein powder? Hemp protein works amazingly in smoothies as you can literally add it to any homemade smoothie. We’ve also used rice protein and pea protein, but there are lots more on the market. You can buy readymade smoothie mixes too that are already flavoured, but just keep an eye on the ingredients for unwanted additives, pesky soy and added sugars.
For smoothie inspiration, check out a couple of my recipe posts:
As nature intended
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with a good old handful of nuts, seeds or banana to get that great energy fix and protein boost. 100g of mixed nuts provides approximately 20g of protein and the banana will boost glycogen stores providing much needed energy before a workout. Fruit, nuts and seeds are as nature intended and conveniently ready for us to eat on the go and provide fuel just how our body likes it, naturally.