5 High-Protein Foods for Optimal Recovery

Low-fat Chocolate Milk (8 oz): 8 grams protein. Low-fat chocolate milk provides a 3 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, so it helps to replace glycogen while providing the essential amino acids your muscles need to recover.

Research suggests that chocolate milk works just as well as other sports drinks for enhancing recovery among endurance athletes. Chocolate milk provides a blend of both whey and casein proteins, which may provide advantages versus foods with a single-source of protein.

More: Is Chocolate Milk Good for Muscle Recovery?

Cottage Cheese (8 oz): 28 grams protein. Non-fat cottage cheese packs in more protein per calorie than virtually any other food, making it a great option for athletes concerned about weight or trying to lean out for a competition.

Cottage cheese is one of the most naturally-rich sources of the muscle-building amino acid, leucine. For example, a cup of cottage cheese packs in 2.9 grams leucine compared to 1.4 grams in yogurt and .3 grams in an egg. The essential amino acid is considered the "limiting" factor for muscle gains and it's why many protein supplements contain added leucine.

Eggs (1 medium): 6 grams protein. As the gold standard for protein, eggs are on the must-eat list of most amateur and professional athletes.

More: Do Eggs Help or Hurt Cholesterol?

A medium egg has just over 6 grams of protein of the highest biological value—meaning it's complete with all amino acids in the most digestible form.

Eggs also contain 13 other vitamins and minerals—virtually everything you need with the exception of vitamin C.

Two protein-packed ways to enjoy eggs: Baked Eggs in Canadian Bacon  and Protein Pancakes.

Pistachios (1 oz/49 pistachios): 6 grams protein. Pistachios make a nutritious and easy on-the-go-recovery choice. These flavorful green nuts provide antioxidants that may speed recovery, as well as potassium and sodium, two electrolytes lost in sweat.

A serving of roasted and salted pistachios contains a whopping 310 mg potassium and 160 mg sodium, compared to 35 mg potassium and 95 mg sodium found in popular sports drinks.   

More: The Importance of Nuts and Seeds in an Athlete's Diet

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