Donâ€™t overlook the importance of protein in the diet, especially when you are active and training, to provide the building blocks of lean muscle mass. Whether you eat meat or are on plant-based diet, incorporate foods that are high in protein to your daily routine. Five foods that you really should be eating when you are in training are:
- Lentils.Â If you are looking for foods high in protein, look no further than legumes, more specifically, lentils. Lentils have around 18-grams of protein per cup, cooked; they also are a great source of fiber and provide around 90% of the Folate needed in your diet.
- Greek Yogurt. Low-fat Greek yogurt is low in calories, around 130 per 2/3 cup serving, and it packs a powerful punch with 11-grams of protein. If you eat dairy, try adding Greek-style yogurt to your smoothies, cereal, or fruit for a satisfying snack when working out.
- Blueberries. Naturally low in calories, blueberries are a great way to get fiber and antioxidants in your meals. Throw a few frozen berries in a smoothie, or bake them in bread. Blueberries are among foods that are the highest in antioxidants which helps keep you healthy and immune to illness.
- Kale. At 33-calories per cup, kale is an excellent source of fiber and protein for your daily diet. If you arenâ€™t into dark, leafy greens, try making a batch of low-fat kale chips by roasting small pieces of kale in a hot oven with a spritz of coconut oil and kosher salt.
- Chia seeds. Chia seeds can be used in trail mix, breads, cereal, or sprinkled on a number of foods to add some protein and omega-3s to your daily diet. Low in calories, each ounce of seeds contains around 140 calories, and are 19% protein.
In addition to these five essential foods, consider these nutrition tips during your training:
- Another great source of protein is found in plant-based pastas, such as those made from whole-wheat, spinach, or corn. If you find that you donâ€™t care for the texture of non-semolina pastas, play around with the cooking time a bit and adjust to suit your palate.
- Smoothies are an excellent way to get your nutrition in, often early in the day. This will also help to provide fuel for your workout, and your day.
- You are likely well-aware of the benefits of staying hydrated, but know that it is particularly important to drink water when cooling-down from a workout. Carry a recyclable bottle of water with you to help flush the lactic acid out of your muscles after your regimen; flushing this acid out with water and an adequate cooling-down period will help you feel less sore or strained the next day. Want to add a punch of vitamin C to your day? Add fresh slices of lemon, lime, or orange to your bottle of water.