Protein supplements are not a necessity to drink if you’re trying to build muscle, but based on my experience they do work well after workout in muscle recovery and protein synthesis. However, some of us already get the right amount of protein a day without trying. And the amount of protein we get are from whole foods.
Protein absorption depends on the quality of protein as well as how well or ready your muscles are to do protein synthesis. Although most whey isolates, concentrates, and hydrolized whey are designed to jolt insulin levels after workout and promote protein synthesis as well as provide enough protein throughout the day, there are still alternatives that you can find in whole food that can serve as protein sources.
The decision to drink protein supplements after workout or during meals is entirely in our hands. To some extent, I prefer to get my protein from whole food sources. However, high quality protein is hard to come by these days, especially in fast food.
Being a very busy programmer who works on the holidays occasionaly, I don’t have time to prepare meals or clean up after my snacks or meals, nor have the budget to go out and eat a lot of high-quality food.
Hence, I find affordable supplements far more affordable and healthier than eating out.
However, when I do find the time to prepare my meals, I find it a lot more affordable to get my protein from my whole food sources.
Here are some of the whole food sources that I prefer to prepare when I’m looking to get my share of protein requirement from whole food sources:
Eggs or Egg Whites
- Egg white from a large egg is only 16 calories, but packs a punch when it comes to low-fat protein. A whopping 3.6 grams of protein / egg’s egg white.
- Large eggs as a whole pack 77 calories, but have high cholesterol. It does have 6.3 g of protein though
Chicken Breast or Any Chicken Parts
- Just 86 grams of roasted chicken breast packs a whopping 26.7 lbs of protein and 142 calories
- It comes with a heftier price though and has cholesterol levels as well
- 62 grams of chicken thigh is 153 calories and has only 15.5 g of protein
High-Protein Milk or Fresh Low Fat Milk (Dairy)
- They are just a bit cheaper than actual supplements, but each serving has already around 8 grams of protein and around 150-200 calories.
- Some “high-protein” drinks claim to have twice as much protein per serving, but I have not really tried them yet.
- Cheeses also claim their place in the high-protein category.
Beef (Lean Beef if Possible)
- Animal Protein from beef and pork are good sources of protein but the healthiness will most likely depend on how it’s prepared
- For example, a Big Mac has around 15g of protein with 204 calories but is loaded with saturated fat. If you could get beef stew or other ways of cooked beef, the better.
- 165 grams of canned light tuna in water packs a whopping 191 calories and 42 g of protein.