Though bars and ready-to-drink protein and meal-replacement shakes can't be beat when it comes to convenience
and effectiveness, bodybuilders can take advantage of many other options for on-the-go protein-filled meals.
With a little forethought and access to a good grocery store, you can stay on track with your nutrition plan
when you're not around a kitchen or even a refrigerator. Many new products specifically target this need of
bodybuilders, and many other common foods can help you build a healthy and easy high-protein meal.
Low-carb pancakes and bread mixes made by Ketogenics Inc. can form the basis for many meals. One serving of pancakes contains 22 grams (g) of protein and only 145 calories; the protein comes from whey, soy and whole eggs, so you don't have to combine the pancakes with another food for a complete protein. Dip the pancakes guilt-free in their zero-carb syrup; also try spreading the pancakes with low-sugar fruit preserves. Make the pancakes in advance and take them with you for an easy snack.
The bread mix provides 13 g of protein in only 62 calories. Bodybuilders often avoid sandwiches because of the high carb content of most bread, but you can layer this bread with peanut butter or lunch meat and low-fat condiments for a high-protein lunch or minimeal. The bread mix also doubles as a pizza dough.
Pasta is another food bodybuilders on carb-restricted diets tend to avoid. Whey Cool Protein Pastas are protein-fortified, and some varieties have the bonus of a lot of fiber (the whole-wheat vegan version has 7 g of fiber and 11 g of protein per two-ounce dry serving). Cook up a batch, then divide it into plastic storage containers. If you're near a microwave, pop in the pasta with some sauce, then heat and enjoy. Try creating a cold salad with Papadini Hi-Protein Pure Lentil Bean Pasta mixed with items such as cooked chicken strips, black beans, brown rice, green onions or corn. Sprinkle it with a good vinaigrette dressing and stuff it into whole-wheat pita bread.
A few options require zero preparation and are much better than resorting to the Doritos in a vending machine. Chip's Chips makes a variety of high-protein crunchy snacks. You might also try Nextra's line of high protein cereals that need only milk and a bowl; experiment by sprinkling Nextra or Protein Plus cereal in a container of yogurt. Star-Kist's tuna lunches come with crackers and condiments - you don't even need a can opener. The only drawbacks to most of these is that they don't have enough ingredients or calories to make a real meal and you have to watch the sodium content if that's a concern for you.
Ingredients you may want to have on hand to assemble a quick healthy snack include string cheese (it's relatively low in fat and provides some protein), peanut butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, tuna in pop-top cans, whole-wheat crackers, packets of instant oatmeal, deli-sliced turkey or ham and those ubiquitous cooked chicken breasts. Protein bars and shakes can be eaten with a piece of fruit to add some calories and fiber.
If you're imaginative and stock your fridge or pantry in advance, you won't have to worry about what to eat when you know you won't be able to prepare a full meal. Healthy bodybuilding-friendly shopping is easier if you have access to whole foods or health-food stores, but good raw materials can be found at your local supermarket. Try these ideas, let us know if they work for you. and write us with your own tricks for sticking to your diet in difficult situations.