When designing recipes and snacks for athletes, I realized many people have one question in common when it comes to building and maintaining muscle mass. They wonder what sources of protein they can eat without eating the typical meats such as chicken, steak, ham, pork chops, bacon, beans etc. People are constantly on the go, needing better protein options for their body’s needs.
So why not animal protein?
There is nothing wrong with gaining protein from animal sources. Most animal sources have the compete essential amino acid profile needed for our body’s. However, it does take time to prepare these meals. I get it, most of you don’t have time to cook. These meals usually require an oven or grill and probably some good red wine to swish it down. When eating meat for protein sources, its about the quality of meat not the quantity. Wild game meat and wild caught fish are the best quality sources of meat.
Why plant based protein?
Plant based protein can be beneficial when you’re on-the-go and need a boost after workouts, before games, or even during intense exercise. It’s important to gain enough protein for the body so that our bodies do not start to deteriorate and deplete our muscle stores for amino acids. It is very possible to be vegetarian or vegan and still eat plenty of protein to fuel an athlete for marathons, triathlons, long climbs, bike races etc.
Plant based protein sources include quinoa, nuts and seeds such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds & flax seed and beans such as white, kidney, lima and black.
Here is a great recipe (by yours truly) to have on hand if you’re constantly on-the-go and need a quick energy or protein fix during your day.
*Denotes protein source
- *2 cups whole wheat flour
- *1 cup rolled oats
- *1/4 cup ground flax seed
- *1 cup chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
- 2 overripe bananas
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or *dairy milk)
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)
makes 20 balls
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the flour, rolled oats, ground flax seed, chopped walnuts and dried fruit. Mix together until well incorporated.
- In a small mixing bowl, mash up the bananas until it forms a paste. Then, whisk in the sugar, almond milk and melted coconut oil.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together until it forms a dough-like consistency.
- Shape the dough into 1.5 inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until they feel semi-firm.
*153 calories & 4 grams of protein per ball
-All photos used in this article were taken by Stephanie Rackley for and by The Healthy Chew -all rights reserved
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email me at StephanieRackley@thehealthychew.org