Lean, mean protein-packed recipes
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
Protein isn’t just about building muscle—it’s also about staying energized. Either way, it’s important to make protein a meal priority. These fuss-free high-protein recipes are perfect for time-strapped men with a big appetite. For many men, “It’s not a meal without protein.” Protein is high on the list of dietary priorities as this important macronutrient is associated with building lean muscle and making meals extra satiating so you stay feeling full for longer. But busy guys may not always make the best high-protein meal choices when in a time crunch. Which is why it’s a good idea to have some super-fast go-to recipes in your arsenal to help get a nutritious meal on the table without the fuss. Only thing is, a lot of the so-called “quick meals” out there come together as fast as they do because they don’t contain anything substantial—like the protein and fibre you need to feel satisfied and nourished. Lucky for all you on-the-go hungry guys out there (and gals, too!), these recipes dish out a protein punch in minutes. Because you may prefer to break a sweat at the gym, not in the kitchen.
As dietary protein has become increasingly on people’s radar, there has been an explosion of bottled protein drinks and shakes on the market.
Without question, these can provide a convenient way to infuse your diet with more protein, and they can be especially useful after a workout when your weary muscles are craving a fast source of this macronutrient for repair and building.
Plus, some brands are upgraded with helpful add-ins such as vitamins, probiotics, and fibre. You can also find both animal-based liquid protein, such as whey, as well as protein sourced from plants, such as pea protein.
There are a few caveats worth noting, though. First, liquid protein won’t be as satiating as solid protein and can’t provide the same overall nutritional profile, so it’s still important to get most of your protein from whole foods. Some people may rely too heavily on these drinks for their protein needs.
Also, some products contain high amounts of sugar, so you’ll need to read labels carefully, looking for less sweet options. In the end, these should be considered a dietary supplement, something to add to an already well-balanced diet.
Prepping meals and snacks ahead of time instead of working on a meal-by-meal basis is one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for dietary success. This task almost guarantees you’ll eat better, stress less come mealtime, and save a bunch of cash by eating out less. Here’s how to do meal prep like a home economics whiz.
Harried lives make it easy to for meal prep to slide through the cracks. Be sure to write down your kitchen appointment in advance and treat it like a one-on-one with the boss—not something to brush off. Try to set aside at least one hour each week that will be devoted to prepping meals and snacks to be enjoyed at a later date.
Once you know what you want to rustle up in the kitchen, be sure to arm yourself with a detailed list of the items you’ll need so you’re not eating into prep time by needlessly returning to the store for a crucial item. Try organizing your grocery list by aisle so you don’t waste time back-tracking in the store. The more you walk, the more opportunity there is to succumb to impulse buys.
Successful meal preppers swear by having several pre-portioned meals doled out among reusable containers to stay well fed throughout the week. Many natural food stores now carry eco-friendly food containers that can easily go from kitchen to workplace. Reusable beeswax wraps such as Canadian-owned Abeego are handy for bundling up everything from pre-made sandwich wraps to pre-sliced vegetables and fruit.
Working on a recipe that calls for quinoa or chicken? Make your life easier down the road by cooking extras. Beans, grains, and meats (not fish) can be cooked in large amounts at once and then frozen for quick access in the future. Instead of making a giant meat sauce ice-cube that takes forever to defrost, try dividing your bounty among silicone muffin cups to freeze into more manageable portion sizes.
If you only prep meals and no snacks you could be setting yourself up for a dietary meltdown as you give into poor choices when a snack attack strikes. Once a week, divvy up healthy protein-rich snack options such as Greek yogurt with berries or nuts and dried fruit among single-serving containers to help you keep your distance from the vending machine.
Matthew Kadey is a dietitian, nutrition writer, and recipe developer. He is also the author of Rocket Fuel (VeloPress, 2016) and Muffin Tin Chef (Ulysses Press, 2012).