Cottage cheese has an impressive nutrient profile that can be very beneficial if you are following a weight-training program. It is a satisfying, convenient snack you can eat before or after workouts, and it can be jazzed up with a variety of ingredients to make it even more enjoyable and efficient in supporting your workouts.
Packs A Protein Punch
Eating enough protein is an important factor in weight training. It facilitates muscle growth and repair and allows you to continue training at a volume that will increase your strength. Cottage cheese contains 15 grams of protein in just 1/2 cup -- a very high proportion for such a small serving. Cottage cheese makes an ideal preworkout snack: It gives your body a quick boost of protein that can be delivered to your muscles during your workout, ensuring a more effective session.
A Little Serving of Fat
Including healthy fats in your diet is very important for weightlifters. Your body relies on fat to facilitate healthy brain function and as an important energy source. When you're lifting, your muscles will run out of stored energy -- glycogen, from carbohydrates you've eaten -- after about 20 minutes. At this point, your body will start drawing its energy from whatever fats are available in your body. Cottage cheese has 9 to 10 grams of fat per cup.
Cottage cheese is very low in carbs. For some lifters, this is good news -- if you're looking to lose weight, the high protein content combined with low carbs make cottage cheese an ideal snack. However, if you're looking to gain muscle or push yourself through some really hard workouts, you'll need to add some carbs for the extra energy. Ideal carbohydrate additions to cottage cheese include banana, grapes, muesli or other cereals. Alternatively, you could add some honey or maple syrup to bump up the energy you'll get from this snack.
Versatile and Easy
Cottage cheese is an easy food to include at all times of the day. You can serve it with veggie sticks as a replacement for high-salt and high-sugar dips. It works well as a breakfast food, particularly if combined with some fruit or whole-grain cereal. It can be used as a spread on toast, or if you're really sticking to your guns, even as a dessert: Stir in some raw cocoa, frozen berries, peanut butter or honey for a satisfying and healthy after-dinner indulgence.