from Nutrion and Wellness Solutions by Heather Fink, MS, RD, CSSD
Along with carbohydrates, fluids and electrolytes, protein is essential for recovery from exercise. Many times athletes focus heavily on beef, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs for their main dietary protein sources. While these are nutritionally excellent selections, they are not the only sources of protein.
Plant proteins such as grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and soy products can contribute not only protein but also iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium required for optimal recovery and fueling. Athletes do not need to become vegetarian to enjoy plant proteins; they can be included into any dietary pattern as a delicious and nutritious meal alternative.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins in food, as well as in our bodies. There are nine amino acids are considered essential, which means that they cannot be produced in the body in sufficient quantities for the development, growth and repair of muscle and other bodily tissues. Plant-based proteins contain all essential amino acids but in varying amounts. Therefore, in order to consume adequate amounts of all essential amino acids, athletes should consume a variety of protein sources daily. Some examples of plant-based, protein-rich meals and snacks include:
Lentil Sloppy Joes
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