We all know that protein is important - it's one of the essential macronutrients in food alongside fat and carbohydrates.
Every cell in the body contains protein (which is made up of a unique a combination of amino acids), and it's necessary for your body to repair cells and make new ones.
Protein is likewise integral to immune function and hormonal production, and it's vital we consume enough (and the right types), as our bodies do not produce the amino acids that create protein on their own.
Eating adequate protein is important for one's overall health, and a lack of protein can cause muscle weakness, lack of energy, anemia, slowed metabolism and more.
Check out these tips and recs to amp up your meals and habits!
Sneak it into what you're already eating
I feel that "high protein" meals get an unappetizing reputation but that absolutely does not have to be the case.
Instead of making protein intake an obsession at every meal, I recommend considering simple ways to add more protein into what you're already whipping up.
Some recommendations to consider:
- Add greek yogurt or cottage cheese to your smoothies (sounds weird, but it's SO good and adds great texture).
- Mix in a scoop of protein powder to your oatmeal or yogurt bowl. Top it off with some nut butter for extra protein and flavor!
- Top off your smoothies, yogurt bowls, or cereal with some chopped nuts and seeds.
- Add eggs on top of your avocado toast (scrambled, fried, poached, you name it).
- Toss some ground turkey or beef into your pasta.
Make simple protein-packed swaps
In addition to the recs above, here are some simple swaps to consider that will take your meals and snacks to the next level in the protein department:
- Regular coffee creamer ---> protein drink like Slate Milk
- Traditional yogurt and sour cream ---> Greek yogurt (Fage, Siggi's (plain flavor) & Two Good are some of my favs) or cottage cheese (Good Culture is so yummy)
- Regular grains (like oats, whet, millet, barley, etc.) ---> sprouted grains
- Juices ---> protein smoothie
- Veggies with ranch dip ---> veggies with hummus
- Regular pasta ---> chickpea, lentil or black bean pasta
My favorite plant-based sources
I personally enjoy and consume both animal AND plant-based sources of protein, but lean into whatever works best for you.
Some of the best plant-based sources of protein include: beans, lentils, wild rice, chia seeds, tofu, tempeh, seitan, edamame, spelt, teff, peas, hemp seeds, hummus, quinoa, amaranth, spirulina, sprouted grains, oats, nuts, and nut butters.
Don't forget that fruits and veggies also contain protein, just some more than others.
My favorite animal-based sources
Likewise, these sources of protein also provide an extensive amount of nutrients. I encourage you to look for quality cuts, taking farming and processing practices into account.
I try to look for grass fed, organic, free-range, sustainably-sourced and wild-caught labels for meat and seafood when possible.
The sources I most often incorporate into my diet include: beef tenderloin steaks, ground beef, chicken breasts and thighs, sliced turkey breast, ground turkey and chicken, pork tenderloin, ground pork, salmon, shrimp, tuna, eggs, Greek Yogurt, cottage cheese, and jerky (beef, chicken or turkey).
Have any questions? Shoot me a note!
Let me know if you put these protein-packed tips into action in your meals this week :)
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