High-Protein Pasta to Help You Fuel and Recover

Together, carbohydrates and protein—like the kind found in high-protein pasta dishes—support the following recovery functions:

  • Shift the metabolic activity
  • Speed the elimination of waste
  • Replenish glycogen (fuel)
  • Initiate tissue repair
  • Facilitate muscle growth
  • Reduce muscle damage

Don't Delay Your Post-Exercise Recovery Meal

Athletes need to replenish glycogen stores by eating a balanced meal—with both carbohydrates and protein—approximately 30 minutes after a workout. The body will stay in a catabolic state (muscle break-down mode) if food is not supplied within 30 minutes of intense exercise.

More: How to Refuel After a Hard Workout

Animal studies show that those who are fed within 30 minutes of exercise completion have a 6 percent increase in lean body mass, a 70 percent increase in fat-oxidizing enzymes, and a 24 percent decrease in abdominal fat.

There are lots of great recovery foods that offer a good balance of carbs and protein. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches, chocolate milk, and coconut water are popular favorites. But what about pasta?

Many athletes are not only find pasta to be a great carb-loading pre-race fuel, they also eat it as a post-event recovery meal.

More: Whip Up This Pasta With Broccoli-Rabe and Pesto Recipe

Experiment with your own recovery pasta recipes during training runs, to see how it works for you. Keep portion size in mind. Limit cooked pasta to about 1 to 1 ? cups. Add at least three to five ounces of lean protein and a small serving of healthy fats (like olive oil or fresh salmon chunks).

Here are some tasty gluten-free pasta alternatives tasty, high-protein pasta ingredients to help you build your own favorite pasta meals.

Quinoa Pasta

You can buy a variety of pasta noodles made with quinoa, rather than traditional wheat-based pasta noodles. Besides its unique nutty, crunchy texture, quinoa pasta makes a great choice for those with wheat and gluten-related food sensitivities.

Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein suitable for vegetarians. It's also high in protein, fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and iron.

And because it's a low-glycemic food, quinoa provides a slow, steady release of blood sugar, rather than a big spike and dip.

Quinoa and quinoa pasta cook very quickly. The taste and texture vary slightly but you'll likely love the nutty, crunchy taste. Cook some up and toss with your favorite pasta sauce to give it a try.

More: One-Pot Meals for Runners

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