Choose sources that provide long-lasting energy and accelerate muscle repair.

Protein is arguably one of the most important substances the body exists on. It makes up every cell in the body and is responsible for building muscles, skin, cartilage, and blood. Without good sources of protein, the body weakens and isn’t able to build and repair tissues like it should. It also affects chemicals such as enzymes and hormones which can disrupt your recovery after working out.

The key to fueling your body the right way is to choose better sources of protein to consume. Sure, you can buy powders and bars that provide you with extra grams of the macronutrient. The better way to get what you need is through diet by choosing foods that naturally contain large amounts of proteins. Refer to this guide whenever you need inspiration at the grocery store.

Here you’ll find options for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans, and even people who can’t seem to get enough protein without supplementing their diets. When in doubt, consult a professional who can give you a strict protein-fueled diet to follow.

Daily Recommended Allowances of Protein

The recommended dietary allowance or RDA of protein varies per person. Factors such as sex, age, and activity level make a difference. For example, a sedentary woman weighing 150 pounds should consume 56 grams of protein daily. If she is very active and wants to prevent muscle loss as she ages, she can consume twice as many grams for optimal success.

A sedentary man of average weight needs at least 54 grams of protein a day to survive. Again, these numbers increase if he is extremely active, weighs considerably more, and is younger. A good formula to follow is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight.

A high protein diet benefits people with intense workout schedules. If you’re not sure how much protein you should eat even after calculating your body weight, consult your physician or a nutritionist who will be able to give you the exact amount to eat daily.

Animal Proteins

Fish, chicken, lean beef, and wild game are among the best sources of animal proteins a person can eat. Whenever shopping in the future for your dietary needs, consider chicken breasts, lean turkey, lean beef, roast beef and fish such as salmon, tilapia, and mahi mahi because they are all options for you to sink your teeth in. They provide a great amount of protein with lower amounts of fat to your diet.

There are many ways to prepare animal proteins, too. You can use them as the main ingredient or a side ingredient depending on the country of origin of the dish. You can even combine proteins for best results.

Jerky is an easy snack to prepare using the most protein-rich meats listed above. You simply marinate the meat, dehydrate it, and store it until you’re ready to eat it. It will last a significant amount of time because of how it’s been prepared and is an easy option to take with you while you’re on the go.

Plant-Based Proteins

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ll omit most if not all animal proteins from your diet. That means that you’ll need to find other ways to meet your body’s dietary needs. Some options that work well for a plant-based diet include tofu, nuts, seeds, and nut butters as well as many vegetables. Kale isn’t the only food packed full of vitamins, nutrients, and protein.

In fact, here are some other plant-based options that will help you feel healthy and fit:

  • Edamame
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Spirulina
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Quinoa

Many plant-based options can be juiced, added to smoothies, and cooked into main dishes. Nuts and seeds can garnish salads or top bowls of oatmeal. There are plenty of recipes online that help people embrace a plant-based diet by cooking and eating protein-rich foods.

You can create your own trail mix type of snack by adding nuts and seeds together. Throw in some dried fruit for a healthy amount of carbs. Store the mixture in an airtight container and portion out individual servings when you’re ready to take your snack outside the home. Trail mix is great for outdoor exercises too such as backpacking, hiking, and rowing because it’s lightweight but very nutrient-dense.

Protein Powders and Bars

If you can’t consume enough protein through the foods you eat, you can consider supplementing your diet with protein powders and bars. There is a wide variety of options to choose from with each brand offering its own unique blend of protein powder or protein-packed bar. Researching the best options available to meet your dietary needs helps you discern which brands are the most reliable and which to steer clear of.

You can add many protein powders to smoothies, sauces, and creams, too. As long as they aren’t flavored too strongly, you won’t even notice a difference in taste. This is among the easiest ways to up your protein intake through the use of powders.

You can also create your own protein bars at home using many of the ingredients listed above in the plant-based protein section. Quinoa bars packed with nuts and seeds give your body the boost of energy it needs to power through a workout at the gym.

Take Good Care of Your Body So It Always Takes Good Care of You

Give your body the protein it needs to thrive. Now that you have a greater understanding of why it’s essential to good health and how it helps with recovery, you’ll be more apt to choose higher quality protein to consume. The end result will be a body that looks and feels its best.

Choosing the best proteins available allows your body to make the best use of the macronutrient. You’ll be able to recover better between workouts and see a significant difference in how you look and feel. Since you really are what you eat, it’s important to consume high quality foods and beverages so that you’re able to benefit from every bite or sip of food that you take into your body.