In the health and fitness world, and just in general life, protein can be a big topic of controversy. One minute we aren’t getting enough, the next TOO MUCH. While everyone’s protein amount is going to differ, I do believe that a lot of people are lacking good amounts of quality sources of protein in their diet. Whether or not you’re trying to build muscle, lose weight, or just stay the same, protein is an important building block and essential to making certain things in your body. It also helps keep your feeling fuller! For more information, check out this article.
1. Eggs/Egg Whites
Just to clarify first, EGGS ARE NOT BAD FOR YOU. Okay, there I said it. There was some belief that started that egg yolks are bad for you and you should only eat the whites, not true. Anyway, both eggs and egg whites are great sources of protein, for any meal! Add hardboiled eggs to a salad, make scrambled egg/egg whites for breakfast or dinner, add egg whites to your oatmeal, etc. I typically do a mix of 1 egg and 3-4 egg whites. They’re also great for adding to pancake or waffle batter to increase the protein content!
2. Greek Yogurt
If you follow me on social media, then you know I love my greek yogurt! I use it in oatmeal, yogurt bowls for breakfast or dessert, fruit dip, smoothies, healthy chicken salad…you name it! I love getting plain because A) It has no added sugars in it, and B) I get to add the toppings and flavorings of my own. But, I also do love Dannon Light and Fit Greek yogurts too when I’m feeling more of a sweet treat! The great thing about greek yogurt too is that it’s portable and an easy snack to eat while being so versatile!
3. Lean Meats
This one is the obvious choice. Any source of meat gives you protein, but look for the lean choices when possible. Lean ground turkey or beef, chicken, shrimp, fish, lunch meat, turkey or lean beef burgers, etc. are all great options!
While cheese can have a lot of fat, it can also provide a healthy source of protein. Look for reduced fat cheeses like mozzarella, feta, goat, provolone, and swiss. These are going to be your healthiest options. Sprinkle some on your eggs or salad, or mix into pasta. String cheese is also a great snack on-the-go. One of my favorites that I’ve recently found is laughing cow wedges. They come in about 6-8 different flavors (favorites: light swiss and mozzarella sun-dried tomato and basil) and are great to add to eggs or pasta, spread on sandwiches or wraps, or dip crackers in!
On the market, there are thousands of different protein powders and bars, all claiming they are the next best thing, which can be good considering everyone’s tastes and preferences are different. I personally am not one of those people who say you should never use or eat powders or bars because being an athlete and always busy, I know how convenient and easy sources of protein these can be. When looking for a bar, make sure it has a good amount of protein and carbs, quality ingredients, and limited added sugar. Same goes for powders: limited added sugar and quality ingredients. From there whether you choose egg, whey, isolate, etc. is up to you. So yes I do believe that these are okay to add to your diet. However, they should not constitute the main sources of your daily protein. What I mean is if you have a protein shake, don’t have two bars later to get your protein needs in (unless you’re some big bodybuilder who has insanely high macros for protein and then you do you). I limit myself to one a day, either protein powder or a bar so that I can ensure I’m getting the rest of my protein from quality sources like lean meats, dairy, etc.
Other include items that have protein, but aren’t a main component. A lot of these are what vegetarians and vegans get their protein from. This would include beans (garbanzo, black, kidney, etc.), lentils, quinoa, some healthy breads, edamame, and hummus. If you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, I would suggest you use these to supplement your protein intake, but not have them be your main source.
Hopefully now you have a better idea of some good ways to get in your protein! Like I mentioned before, each person’s amount is going to be different based on a variety of factors; however, every person needs quality sources of protein in their diet! These are some of my favorites and go-tos!