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By: Lisa Payne

Protein is the building block that helps us develop and maintain muscle. So, when you’re ready to hit the ground running, it’s important to have protein-packed, pre- and post-workout foods on hand.

It might seem like an incredible effort to plan meals and snacks out ahead of time. But not only is meal prepping time-efficient, it’s also a great way to ensure you’re getting the right amount of protein to support your workouts. The recommended daily protein intake for women is 46g of protein and 56g for men ages 19-50. Check in with a physician to see if you need more based on your level of activity.

RELATED: Nut Butter Is a Great Protein Source, Plus 4 More Nutrition Myths

Plan ahead and try these 5 easy-to-make, protein-packed foods:

Boiled Egg

Calories: 70

Protein: 7g

How to make: To make 6 eggs, place them flat in a saucepan filled a quarter of the way with water. Add a dash of salt to keep the eggs from cracking. Bring eggs to a boil and then take off the heat. Cover and let sit 10-12 minutes.

1 C Edamame

Calories: 189

Protein: 17g

How to make: Boil a saucepan full of water. Add edamame with 1 tsp. of salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until edamame are soft through.

Salmon

Calories: 230 for 4oz.

Protein: 25g

How to make: Preheat the oven to 400-degrees and coat the bottom of the pan with ¼ C lemon juice (15 calories) or 2T of olive oil (119 calories), and add your favorite seasonings. Set the salmon in the pan. Cook for 25 minutes or until the middle is no longer pink.   

¼ C Pumpkin Seeds

Calories: 160 calories

Protein: 9g

How to make: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put the pumpkin seeds in a bowl, add a dash of salt and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Spread onto a baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes until seeds are light brown. 

Vital Proteins’ Hemp Berry Protein Shake

Calories: 315

Protein: 23g

How to make: Combine ¾ C coconut water, 1 C organic frozen berries, ½ banana, 3 kale leaves, 1 T raw hulled hemp seeds and 2 scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides into a blender until smooth.

 

Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or consider yourself an omnivore, protein is an essential element in our diets to repair muscle and live a healthier, stronger life.