Meat is Not the Only Source of Protein!
When you think of protein rich foods, what do you think of? I would guess that many of you think of meat and meat products...and for a good reason. Meat is high in protein. A 3-oz lean cut of steak is packed with 23 grams of protein. This roughly translates to 1 gram of protein for every 7 calories. Similarly, a 3-oz chicken breast contains 24 grams of protein and a 3-oz boneless porkchop contains 26 grams of protein. Although meat can be a great option for getting your protein, it is not the only source of protein. And consuming a lot of meat isn't very healthy either. People who eat too much meat are at a higher risk for developing heart disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis and cancer.
So how do you get your daily protein requirements without eating too much meat? Here are some other protein-rich food options.
Greek Yogurt - My mother-in-law was recently recovering from a heart surgery and needed to get more protein into her body without eating much meat. She started eating greek yogurt everyday and it really helped her. Greek yogurt has approximately 23 grams of protein per cup. Talk about a protein powerhouse!
Cottage Cheese - We love cottage cheese at my house. In fact, when my picky toddler won't eat his dinner we often resort to cottage cheese as a bedtime snack. Cottage cheese has about 14 grams of protein per half cup.
Beans - There are many different kinds of beans and each contains different amounts of protein. Two beans with high amounts of protein are soybeans and navy beans. Edamame soybeans contain about 22 grams of protein per cup, while Navy beans contain about 15 grams per cup.
Legumes - Legumes are also high in protein. Dried green peas are one type of legume. They contain 8 grams of protein per cup, about the same as a glass of milk.
Nuts - Just like beans and legumes, there are many different nuts with different protein amounts. Nuts are also great because we use nuts to make nut butters, nut flours, and even nut milks.
Quinoa - Quinoa is the only grain that is also a complete protein. One cup of cooked quinoa has about 8 grams of protein. Quinoa can be used in soups, salads or as a substitute for rice. It is a great way to get some extra protein in your diet.
Chia Seeds - Chia seeds have about 3 grams of protein per tablespoon. They can be added to smoothies, breads, salads, etc. Another great, and relatively easy way, to get more protein.
Protein Powder - Luckily in this day and age we can go to the store and buy supplements when we need them. There are many plant-based protein powders on the market. I have been using Orgain Organic Protein Powder. Two scoops of this powder contain 21 grams of protein. I love starting out my day with a delicious protein shake. This is one of my favorite protein shake recipes.
Cristina's Protein Power Shake
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 frozen banana
1 cup spinach
1 T natural peanut butter
1-2 scoops chocolate protein powder
Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour and enjoy!
It is recommended that women get about 46 grams of protein per day and that men need about 56 grams of protein per day. Just remember that it shouldn't all come from meat! Eating a variety of protein-rich foods will make you healthier, and hopefully, a little happier too.
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