While the importance of consuming protein shakes after your workout to promote recovery is widely recognized, you may also want to consider consuming a protein shake before bed. Fitness expert Dean Goudie explains that consuming a protein shake prior to sleep can help provide nutrients to your muscles overnight and suggests a low-carbohydrate, slow-digesting protein source. While many protein shakes are manufactured to be slow digesting, there are also food sources that can act as suitable replacements.
Beef jerky is a high-protein food that is relatively low in carbohydrates and fat, so it may be a suitable replacement for a pre-bed protein shake. While the nutrition facts vary slightly by brand, a 1-oz. serving of beef jerky contains about 80 calories, with 0.5 g of fat, 3 g of carbohydrates and 15 g of protein. This is similar to one serving of casein protein, which contains 110 calories, 0.5 g of fat, 3 g of carbohydrates and 24 g of protein.
One Percent Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a dairy product that can be high in fat if you consume the regular variety. However, 1 percent cottage cheese is low in fat and carbohydrates and is rich in protein. A 1/2-cup serving of 1 percent cottage cheese provides about 80 calories, 1 g of fat, 3 g of carbohydrates and 14 g of protein, depending on the brand. In addition, cottage cheese is rich in casein protein, a slow-digesting form of protein that is sold as a protein supplement for pre-bed and daytime use.
Egg White Omelet
Egg whites are low in calories, fat and carbohydrates, so they can be effective sources of protein, even if you are dieting. The white of one large egg contains just 16 calories and 4 g of protein, with practically no fat and carbohydrate content. Egg protein actually digests slower than casein protein, so making a flavorful egg white omelet with low-carb vegetables may be an effective replacement for a pre-bed shake.
Soy Protein Powder
Soy protein powder is a high-protein supplement that is low in fat and carbohydrates. Each scoop of soy protein powder contains 110 calories, 1 g of fat, 0 g of carbohydrates and 24 g of protein, making it similar in nutrition to casein protein. In addition, soy protein digests at a slower rate than casein, which makes it appropriate before bedtime.