20 food suggestions for an athlete’s target protein intake

Posted on October 8, 2018 by

When considering protein for recovery, the timing, frequency and amount all play a pivotal role for optimal results.

After a training session the amount of protein to aim for to start muscle regeneration and recovery is 20g of protein. This amount is also a good target for continued muscle repair at your second recovery meal or snack which follows two hours after training. It is more efficient for recovery and muscle development to have this amount of protein through regular portions over the day at meals and snacks than to have one extra-large serve of protein all at once.

Easily identified protein foods are meat, fish, dairy and eggs, but protein is also in nuts, grains and legumes. Below is a list of foods or snack options and the portion sizes needed to reach 20g of protein. Smaller frames may only need 10-15g at snack times so roughly halve these portions as a guide.


Food Suggestions

From lowest to highest in terms of carbohydrates, here are 20 examples of foods that contain approximately 20 grams of protein:

  1. 75g grilled rump steak
  2. Quarter of a grilled chicken breast (approx. 70g cooked)
  3. Third of a cup low fat ricotta and cinnamon with sliced fruit
  4. Four vita wheat + half a cup low fat cottage cheese
  5. One English muffin + 2 slices ham + one slice low fat cheese
  6. One slice toast + 1Tb peanut butter with 250ml light milk
  7. Two slices grain bread + 95g tin tuna
  8. Third of a cup diced cooked chicken on two slices bread + salad
  9. 550ml skim milk
  10. Two slices low fat cheese on two slices of wholemeal toast
  11. Two eggs on 2 pieces of wholemeal toast
  12. One cup cooked pasta with 95g tin tuna
  13. Half a cup low fat ricotta on two thick slices raisin toast
  14. Smoothie with 350ml light milk and 4Tb light yoghurt
  15. Two slices of toast +140g tin baked beans + one slice cheese
  16. Four scoops of Sustagen with water
  17. Two cups Special K + 200ml light milk
  18. Two “Up and Go” regular or One “Up and Go” energize
  19. 200g low fat yoghurt + half a cup muesli + regular skim cappuccino
  20. Three slices of grain bread + 220g tin baked beans

*Total kilojoules will vary for each snack option outlined.

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