Protein is made of amino acids. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of muscle. Therefore, protein is an essential ingredient for muscle building. You can't build muscle without it! You will want to take in about 1-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight throughout the day. So an average person who weighs 150 lbs would want to consume between 150 and 300 grams of protein in a day. Protein shakes and bars are convenient and provide high quality protein.
I'm digging these AdvantEDGE carb control protein shakes. The chocolate flavor is the only one I've tried, and I'm sold on it. It only has 110 calories, 3.5 fat grams, and 17 grams of protein. It's quite yummy. The best part is it's so portable. The other day I went for a 3 mile run at a local park and left a cold protein shake in the car inside a cooler. The whole run, I kept thinking about that shake. Since the ideal window in which to consume protein is within 30 minutes post workout, carrying along one of these shakes is a perfect option for me.
Convenience doesn't come cheaply, however. A four-pack at Wal Mart costs $4.97. It's not outrageous, but certainly not as inexpensive as a homemade powder shake. But, if you are "on the run" after a run like I often am, this might be a good option.
Any other suggestions of great, tasty protein sources you like after a workout?