The Best Sources of Protein for a Healthier You
Everyone knows that protein is an important part of your diet. Protein is found in every cell of your body and helps keep you strong and energized. For people that exercise, protein plays an even greater role, helping to build muscle and repair tissue. It also keeps you full, aiding in weight loss. Not getting enough protein is rare, but it can still happen. If you're concerned with getting enough of this very important macronutrient, here are several ways that you can augment your protein intake.
Red Meat and Chicken
When you think of protein, the first thing that usually comes to mind is red meat. All meat, as a matter of fact, is a good source of protein. If you decide to use beef to get your protein levels in check, make sure you choose lean cuts. Chicken and turkey breast are also leaders of the protein pack, as well as pork tenderloin. Meats are extremely versatile and if you're a creative cook, you can prepare them in dozens of different and healthy ways.
One usually associates dairy products with calcium, but the truth is, they're loaded with protein as well. Satisfying and creamy cottage cheese is surprisingly high in protein and a terrific addition to any lunch. Likewise, plain Greek yogurt is a great way to start your day, providing you with the protein you need to stay full. Other good dairy sources include hard cheeses, cream cheese and of course, milk. Dairy can be high in fat, so adjust your portions so that you get all the benefits without overdoing it.
Athletes and weightlifters need a lot of protein to build and repair muscles. It also provides them with the energy they need to perform their best. Many competitors will choose supplements to get their protein in before or after workout sessions depending on the type of supplement they're taking. This is an easy and convenient method to get the nutrients they need to achieve peak performance.
For people that prefer getting protein from plant-based sources, such as vegetarians and vegans, the options are plentiful. Soy products are just one tasty example. Adding tofu and tempeh to a favorite meal as a substitute for meat is an excellent way to get protein without worrying about saturated fat. They're both delicious in salad and stir-fry and take on the flavors of the spices you use. Another high protein source is edamame, the actual soybean itself. Sold frozen, edamame is a delicious finger food when steamed or roasted. You can also benefit from soy milk and coffee creamers.
Legumes and Vegetables
If you love vegetables, you're in luck! Vegetables are a wonderful source of protein that are also low in calories and fat-free. Load up on spinach and broccoli to get this energy-providing nutrient along with additional health benefits like antioxidants. Black beans are also a good choice, as well as lentils and lima beans. Making a delicious lentil soup is a savory way to get added protein and is especially comforting in the winter. If you like peanuts, remember they're technically a legume and high in protein.
When was the last time you went nuts for protein? Tree nuts are good sources of protein and they're delicious, too. You can make your day healthier by simply adding almonds, pistachios and cashews to your diet. Choose nuts that are plain or salted and avoid honey roasted, glazed or unnecessary sugary coatings. Keep it simple and pure for the greatest advantage.
If you feel that you need to get more protein in your diet, there are dozens of tasty ways to do it. Just adding a few of these nourishing foods per day, and switching out others, is enough to do the trick. Not only will you get the protein you need for strong muscles, you'll also reap the benefits that come with these already healthy foods.