We all know that we could use more fruits and vegetables in our diet. But that doesn’t mean cutting out protein completely — or straying from a vegetarian diet. Protein is one of the most important, fuel-filled parts of a square meal and it can be found in a variety of foods. From lean meats to legumes and eggs, healthy proteins are an essential part of a balanced diet.
Proteins are not only essential, but they also keep us fuller for a longer period of time. The trick is to pick protein carefully. Avoid proteins high in saturated fats like un-trimmed beef and pork. Sorry, but crumbled bacon on a green salad isn’t the best choice. Add some omega-3 fatty acid rich salmon to your salad instead. You need to make choices daily – make the right ones! Choose low fat protein sources that help aid in weight loss as well as balancing your blood sugar while promoting muscle gain. Remember muscle burns calories even while resting!
As with most food groups, some are better than others. did you know that a cup of black beans has eight grams of protein, more than lentils?
Chicken is, of course, a well-known healthy protein, and sometimes known as boring but, it does not have to be. Use your imagination and jazz it up with good choices.
Eggs are one of the world’s wonder foods. Known to be a healthy fat and protein. It is important to eat the whole egg—yolk and all—to get the full protein benefits.
One half a cup of edamame actually contains eleven grams of protein. This Japanese peanut or soybean is also high in fiber. All soybeans actually contain a plethora of healthy components like carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin K.
Red meat is not unhealthy — it just has more saturated fats. Therefore considering this, stick to lean cuts of beef like sirloin, filet mignon, and flank steak.
It may be a trendy grain, but Quinoa is actually a grain loaded with protein, fiber and magnesium.
Turkey is a super food, and shouldn’t cause any diet problems, so don’t bring this food into your diet only in November! Turkey is a great substitute for fattier beef, and ground turkey can be used to make meatloaf, chili, and even the well-known turkey burger. We always have turkey meatballs in the refrigerator for a go to meal – we blend the turkey with some brown rice and oatmeal to add carbs for a balanced meal. Yes – Carbs! They are necessary and balance off your diet!
Fish is a great place to start for healthy proteins, packed with those Omega 3’s.
Honestly – I average three 5-8 oz. portions daily. Usually Tilapia, Orange Roughy and Salmon a day with either a sweet potato, brown rice or a salad with fresh lemon.
Hope this helps! TDM