If you have begun a workout program with the goal of earning some rock hard, lean muscle, you have no doubt heard about the importance of protein. This article will explain why protein is so crucial to your success and provide some tasty, nutritious protein recipes that will excite your taste buds more than just plain fish and broccoli.
What’s so Great About Protein?
Consuming sufficient, quality, dietary protein is an essential part of a muscle building program. Many experts will agree that diet is about eighty percent responsible for the success or failure of a workout program. No matter how hard or how smart you train, you won’t make any progress if your nutrition is lacking.
After a tough training session, our bodies are in a catabolic state, meaning our muscles are being broken down. Think of the catabolic state as the muscles essentially eating themselves. It is crucial to your muscle building success to refuel with lean, quality sources of complete protein immediately following a workout. This will put you in an anabolic state, meaning muscle can be built upon.
Complete proteins are those that contain all the amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscles and this is why quality counts. Some of the best sources of protein include those from animals like lean meats, milk, eggs and cheese. Vegetarian sources like beans, grains and nuts can be made into complete proteins by combining them in certain ways.
Many of the protein recipes you are likely to come across are shakes. While shakes are easy, convenient and certainly a great option, sometimes it’s nice to change things up and enjoy a hot, indulgent breakfast to start the day.
1 cup liquid egg whites
1 whole egg
½ cup red and green pepper, diced
¼ cup onion, diced
½ ounce Monterey jack cheese, grated
Non-stick cooking spray
1 small tomato, diced
¼ cup salsa
Spray frying pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sautee the veggies over medium heat until slightly soft. Add egg whites and egg and cook, scrambling with veggies. Once cooked, add cheese and place pan under broiler just to melt cheese. Transfer scramble to a plate and top with diced tomatoes and salsa. Enjoy!
Lunch ideas can be tricky at times because so may of us lead busy, hectic lives. You’ll benefit greatly from the protein recipes that offer a take along, easy to eat, nutritious lunch.
Curried Chicken Pita
1/3 cup plain, fat free yoghurt
¼ cup fat free or low fat mayo
2 tsp curry powder
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 medium apple, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
Fresh cilantro, to taste
4 whole-wheat pita pockets
In a small bowl, combine yoghurt, mayo and curry powder, mixing well. In separate bowl, combine all other ingredients except cilantro. Pour dressing over chicken mixture and blend well. Use chicken mixture to fill each pita pocket and top with fresh cilantro if desired.
If you own a grill, you will find an abundance of great protein recipes that are simple to make and very easy to clean up. Lean cuts of steak, chicken, shrimp, salmon and even veggies can be thrown on the grill to add lots of variety to your muscle building meals.
Grilled Balsamic Chicken
4 – 6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup water
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
4 tsp dried onion flakes
3 tsp Italian seasoning mix
3 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients (except chicken) in a bowl and mix well. Place chicken breasts in plastic bag and pour marinade over meat. Store in refrigerator for one to eight hours. Heat grill and place chicken on grill, truing halfway through. Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F. Serve chicken with a large green salad for a complete, nutritious meal.
If you browse the internet or your favourite bookstore, you will find many delicious protein recipes that will serve your training and your physique well. Have fun with your meals and get creative to keep things interesting.