High protein diets, protein shakes, protein bars, and so on and so forth… just what are the best sources of protein and how much should you have each day? Men and women have different needs for protein. In addition, your body type, age, and activity level can all effect how much protein your body can benefit from.
In general, men need about 56 grams per day and women should aim for 46 grams per day. However, shoot to increase this a bit on days you are working out intensely. It can be challenging to think outside the box when trying to add protein to your diet. Of course, lean meats are a great go to source for protein. But who wants to have chicken for breakfast?
Here are some of the less famous but equally as beneficial sources of protein that you should be adding to your diet.
… is a protein packed snack or a perfect on the go breakfast. Typical brands boast 15-20 grams of lean muscle building protein. Check the nutrition labels, however, as some yogurts can be surprisingly high in sugars.
Nuts… peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans
… whatever you prefer, they’re packed with protein! Nuts can get a bad rap because of the high amount of fat. The fats in nuts, however, are healthy fats that your body needs to look and feel its best. A handful a day can help power you through a workout and keep you full for quite some time. You can even try adding some chopped walnuts to your morning oatmeal – delicious!
Shake it up!
Protein shakes are a quick and easy way to increase your protein intake. There are so many varieties of protein that can be beneficial depending on your dietary preferences. For example, vegans have many options such as soy, hemp, and rice proteins. Experiment with the different ways to add these proteins into your daily diet. Try a scoop in some chocolate milk or blend it with a fruit and vegetable smoothie as a meal replacement.
…is an addictingly-delicious alternative to peanut butter that has even more protein than its traditional counterpart. Spread some almond butter on whole wheat toast in the morning to kick start your morning with a filling and fueling bite!
Peanut butter… where do I begin?!
Peanut butter is my healthy protein-packed snack obsession, and for good reason! Paired with apple slices, celery, toast, bananas, etc.; peanut butter is a satisfying protein fix. Be on the lookout when selecting your peanut butter, as just like Greek yogurt it can have quite a few added ingredients. Look for options that are purely peanuts with little to no added oil, salt, or sugars. The fewer ingredients, the healthier the product.
Start your day like Rocky
… and gulp down some raw eggs! Just kidding, we prefer cooked eggs for our protein packed breakfasts! A serving of eggs in the morning can jump start your day the healthy way.
Hummus is a handy on the go snack
… that is made up of more protein than you’d expect! Because its main ingredient is beans, an afternoon snack of hummus with pretzels or vegetables is one of the healthiest and cleanest sources of protein.
Quinoa is one of the most complete sources of protein around
… and there are nearly endless ways to include it into your menu planning. Used in breakfast dishes, salads, entrees, and everything in between, one serving of quinoa has 24 grams of protein!
Beans can get a bad rap, but
… prepared correctly they are less likely to cause digestion issues. Include beans in your salads for a light but protein-dense lunch or dinner. You should also vary the types of beans you eat to reap the most benefits.
… comes in small, single serving containers that make it an ideal protein boosting snack. Top it with some berries and a bit of honey to satisfy your sweet tooth and check off a serving of protein!
Brown rice is the perfect base to any dinner entrée
… and it is also surprisingly high in protein! With 5 grams per cup, you can use rice in countless dishes and add fresh vegetables to contribute to the protein count, too.
So, which items will you be adding to your menu for the day?