Beyond the Shake: Protein for Meat-Eaters, Veggies, and Vegans

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Needing protein post-workout is one of those nuggets of wisdom that get thrown around everywhere, from everyone. You post a picture of yourself post workout and you’ll always get that one person telling you to make sure you’re making a protein shake. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, unsolicited advice about the how’s and what’s of protein consumption. So do you really need protein after your workout? Yes. But dumping whey or soy protein into a shake isn’t the only way.

According to the Mayo Clinic, eating after your exercise is crucial in helping your muscles recover. What they suggest is making time to eat protein AND carbohydrates within two hours of working out. Add things like yogurt and fruit to your grocery list, which can be combined and eaten together, parfait style, or mixed into, yes, a protein shake. Throw a peanut butter sandwich (on whole grain bread) in your gym or barn bag to have on-hand to get your quick carb/protein fix.

Shakes and sandwiches are great options, but what do you do when you get bored of those? The No Meat Athlete suggests hemp seeds, peanuts, pistachios, roasted almonds, sunflower seeds, and black walnuts due to their high amounts of protein.

If I’m making a post workout dinner, my go-to is sauteed broccoli and tomatoes served over whole wheat spaghetti with shredded parmesan cheese. On meat-eating days, I’ll bake a chicken breast, cut it up, and add it to the bowl. Plus, the leftovers (hot or cold) make for a great lunch the next day!

It’s important to remember that being physically active is only one part of being a fit equestrian. Making sure your body gets what it needs to help your muscles recover and rebuild, to have the energy to work hard, is the other half of the equation.

Nicole is a writer for Heels Down Media. If she's not writing or editing, she's either running, doing yoga, or at the barn working on becoming a better, stronger dressage rider.

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