To maximize muscle recovery and growth I try to get 130-150g of protein per day. These are some foods I’ve found that make it easier to hit that target.* Recipe sources linked where relevant.
- Low-fat string cheese
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Beef jerky (or turkey jerkey)
- Greek yogurt
- Add protein powder to oatmeal or Greek yogurt
- Protein-formulated Rise bars taste and feel like real food. I strongly prefer them to a lot of other protein bars, whose texture I don’t like much.
Breakfast sausage (from Caveman Food)
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 lb lean ground pork
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp each cumin, nutmeg, oregano, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, ground black pepper
- 1 tsp each dried basil, thyme, sage
- 1 Tbsp sea salt (or 2 tsp table salt)
Mix gently with your hands, shape into 2-oz patties, and freeze on a baking tray; store in freezer bag. Cook from frozen in a frying pan on medium-high for ~3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through.
Peanut butter pudding (found somewhere on reddit)
- 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 Tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp Stevia
Mix together until smooth, then eat.
High-protein trail mix
Any trail mix becomes high protein with the addition of soy nuts. I mix my own trail mix and make sure it’s half soy nuts, then pack snack-sized ziplocks with 1/3 to 1/2 a cup:
- 3 cups soy nuts
- 1 1/2 cups dried fruit
- 1 cup nuts
- 1/2 cup treats (M&Ms, pretzels, Bugles, chex, whatever)
If you prefer to buy hummus, puree 1 cup of defrosted edamame in the food processor and mix with 1 cup of hummus. It may need a little extra lemon juice, salt, and garlic. But I like to make my hummus:
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (from 1 14.5 oz can, drained)
- 1 1/2 cups defrosted edamame
- 3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Tahini sauce (it comes pre-mixed with garlic, salt, and lemon juice, very handy; otherwise try 1/2 cup tahini, a few cloves chopped garlic, and 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Puree together in food processor. Add salt and cumin to taste.
Protein shakes that actually taste good
I have learned that preference for protein powder is extremely individual. If I’m going to use protein powder, I prefer Vega One, which is not strictly protein (it has a small amount of fat and carbs), but you may hate that one. Just test a few until you find one you don’t hate. For all shakes below, put all ingredients in a blender and blend until desired consistency is reached.
- Chocolate banana shake: 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup milk, 1 sliced frozen banana, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder.
- Very berry shake: 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- Cake batter shake (adapted from Finding the Skinny Geek Within): 6 oz milk, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp cheesecake pudding mix, 1 Tbsp white chocolate pudding mix, ice cubes (start with 6, add more if it’s not icy enough)
- Blueberry peach cobbler shake (adapted from The Athletarian): 1 scoop plain or vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1 sliced peach (frozen = better), 1/2 cup Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with granola.
- Chocolate cherry smoothie (adapted from The Athletarian): 2 cups milk, 1 cup frozen cherry, 3 Tbsp cocoa powder, 1 Tbsp raw cocoa nibs, 1 pinch ground cinnamon, 1 scoop plain protein powder, 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder, 1/2 tsp sweetener OR (easy version) milk, frozen cherries, and chocolate protein powder
I like fat and carbs, including sugar. They are not the enemy and they won’t make you fat as long as you’re eating fewer total calories than you burn.
All foods included on this page are here because they help me reach my protein target while also staying within my daily calorie range. They would still be delicious and high protein with added carbs and fat.
Foods are chosen according to my dietary preferences. I enthusiastically eat animal proteins: meat, fish, eggs, dairy. I’m extremely picky about tofu and I don’t cook with it, I’d rather leave it to the experts. I don’t really like protein powder on its own but mixed with other foods it’s usually okay.