Protein is an important nutrient the human body needs for many reasons. The following information comes from Piedmont Healthcare’s website.
“Protein plays a key role in keeping your cells in good shape. It fuels our cells and powers our bodies. Protein is made up of amino acids, commonly known as building blocks because they are attached in long chains. It is a macronutrient meaning you need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. Here are just a few reasons to eat enough protein each day:
- Protein helps build strong bones and muscles and helps maintain healthy cartilage and skin.
- Protein is used to repair and build tissue.
- Red blood cells contain a protein compound that carries oxygen throughout the body. This helps supply your entire body with the nutrients it needs.
- About half the dietary protein that you consume each day goes into making enzymes, which aids in digesting food and making new cells and body chemicals.
- Protein plays an important role in hormone regulation, especially during the transformation and development of cells during puberty.”
And here are even more reasons to bring on the protein!
- Protein Keeps You Full.
- Reduces Cravings and Desire for Late-Night Snacking
- Boosts Metabolism and Increases Fat Burning
- Lowers Your Blood Pressure
- Helps Maintain Weight Loss
- Helps You Stay Fit as You Age
Now what? Here is a list of High Protein Foods that can be incorporated into meals and snacks.
- Eggs. Start your day off with eggs (large egg is about 6 g) over avocado toast or have them in an omelet full of veggies! Hard boiled eggs make a great salad topper or a snack on the go.
- Almonds. One ounce provides 6 grams of protein. Put a serving over a salad or eat as a snack on the go. Slivered almonds go well mixed in with rice for dinner.
- Chicken Breast. One half of a breast provides 26 grams! Chicken goes great with any veggies for dinner, over a salad for lunch and even in your omelet at breakfast.
- Cottage Cheese. One cup of cottage cheese provides 28 grams of protein! My favorite way to enjoy cottage cheese is mixed in with avocado and put over toast and topped with eggs for my post run breakfast. Cottage cheese can be enjoyed as a snack either paired with seasonal fruit or with Marys Gone Crackers. At dinner, cottage cheese can be used to top a baked potato.
- Greek Yogurt. 1 container contains almost 20 grams of protein. Greek yogurt makes for a great breakfast with fruit and nuts or as a snack.
- Lentils. ½ cup cooked lentils packs 9 grams of protein. Lentils make a great addition to a salad or can be used in soups/stews.
- Lean Beef. 3 ounces provides 24.6 grams of protein. I enjoy ground beef at dinner time though beef can be eaten at lunch as leftovers or over a salad.
- Salmon. Half a salmon fillet provides 30 grams of protein while cod provides 41 grams! Fish makes an excellent addition to any meal. You can even enjoy tuna or salmon out of the pockets or cans as a snack. I love pairing salmon with Marys Gone Crackers.
- Quinoa. 1 Cup provides 8 grams. I love eating quinoa much like I would oatmeal in the morning for breakfast. Quinoa can be added to a salad and as a side at dinnertime.
- Ezekiel Bread. 1 slice provides 6 grams of protein. If you are not gluten intolerant like me, this is a great bread to use for your avocado toast in the morning. Add two fried eggs to the top and that gets you really close to 20 grams of protein!
- Pumpkin Seeds. ¼ cup provides 8.8 grams of protein! Top your oatmeal off with these in the morning or add over a salad. You can even eat them on the go by themselves or a part of homemade trail mix.
- Turkey Breast. 3 ounces contains 25.6 grams of protein. Much like chicken breast and beef- enjoy at lunch or dinner.
- Shrimp. 3 ounces cooked shrimp provides 20.4 grams of protein.
- Peanut butter or Almond Butter. A Serving of peanut butter provides 7.2 grams of protein, and a serving of almond butter provides the same. Enjoy as a snack paired with an apple, carrots, or celery. I love adding it to my oatmeal in the morning.
High Protein Snacks Not included in above list:
- Beef Jerky. Chomps is a company that makes healthy beef jerky.
- Roasted Chickpeas. ½ cup of chickpeas provides 7 grams of protein. Roast the chickpeas with your favorite seasoning and olive oil and enjoy this healthy, crunchy snack on the go.
- Edamame. 1 cup contains 18 grams of protein. Typical Edamame is in the freezer section at the store. Pop it in the microwave and add seasoning to it and enjoy on the go.