Increasing your protein intake is critical for weight loss, improving muscle mass, and improving your overall health. Here are 11 ways you can increase healthy sources of protein into your daily diet.
1. Consume Your Protein First
When you’re eating a meal, make an effort to eat your protein first. Eating protein improves your consumption of Peptide YY (PYY), the gut hormone responsible for satiety, the feeling of being full. Also, when you eat your protein first, you can prevent your insulin and blood sugar levels from rising after you eat a meal.
2. Put Cheese on the Menu
There are different healthy foods and snacks that are high in protein, including cheese. 28 grams of cheddar cheese contains 7 grams of protein and fewer calories than common snack foods that are not nutritionally dense, including chips, crackers, and pretzels. Cheese doesn’t raise your cholesterol levels, and it may improve your heart health.
3. Use Eggs to Replace Meals
Many of your favorite breakfast foods, such as bagels, toast, and cereal, do not provide your body with an abundant source of protein. While oatmeal has more protein than most breakfast cereals, it only gives your body 6 grams of protein per 1-cup serving. However, three large eggs provide your body with 19 grams of protein and nutrients, such as choline and selenium. Consuming eggs in the morning can reduce your appetite and help with satiety, helping you consume fewer calories throughout the day.
4. Add Chopped Almonds
Almonds are considered superfoods because they contain tremendous amounts of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. This type of nut contains approximately 164 calories, and it has 13 grams of unsaturated fat and 6 grams of protein. You can include almonds in your yogurt, salad, cheese, oatmeal, and cottage cheese to improve your protein intake.
5. Include Greek Yogurt in Your Diet
Greek yogurt contains a minimum of 17 grams of protein per 8-oz serving. This type of yogurt is a high-protein food that contains twice as much protein as traditional yogurt. Greek yogurt helps improve the release of the gut hormones PYY and GLP-1, helping suppress your appetite. This yogurt has also been proven to help promote fat loss because of the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
6. Include Proteins in Your Favorite Salads
Many salads are healthy because they contain vegetables that provide your body with essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that help prevent disease. Still, they do not possess ample amounts of protein. Add a 3.5-oz serving of tuna, salmon, cheese, turkey breast, or chicken breast to your salads to increase your protein intake. If you prefer a plant-based option for increasing your protein intake, you can use garbanzo beans. These beans have 15 grams of protein per 165 grams (1-cup).
7. Make Protein Shakes a Part of Your Breakfast Routine
Health shakes and smoothies make a great breakfast, depending on the ingredients you use. Although you may be a fan of juice, fruit, or vegetable breakfast shakes and smoothies, these types of shakes contain little to no protein. Consider incorporating protein powders into your meals to create a shake that’s high in protein. You have a choice of pea, soy, and egg protein. When it comes to satiety, consider trying whey protein powder. 28 grams of whey protein powder (one scoop) gives your body 20 grams of protein.
8. Choose a High-Protein Food for Each Meal
Meat and certain fish are excellent sources of protein. Beef liver, chicken breast, rabbit, beefsteak, salmon, and more are all great to add to your meals for protein. These foods contain amino acids and proteins that help create antibodies that boost your immune system. Adding one serving of a high-protein food can increase your protein intake and help with satiety.
9. Embrace the Great Protein in Salmon
One serving of salmon (3 oz) contains approximately 17.4 grams of protein. If you are like many people, you are concerned about the mercury levels salmon has. However, salmon is another superfood that is nutrient-dense that contains little toxins, especially wild salmon. In addition to the great protein in salmon, this fish also contains healthy omega-3s that provide your body with rich micronutrient content. Consuming wild salmon supports heart health, reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis, improves your mood, and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Eat Peanut Butter with Fruit
Pairing peanut butter with fruit is another excellent way to increase your protein intake. Fruits are full of fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients, but they are low in proteins. On the other hand, peanut butter is a high-protein food that complements various fruits, such as pears and apples.
11. Help Yourself to Cottage Cheese
One cup (225 grams) of cottage cheese contains tons of protein, and it can be a tasty treat. One study revealed cottage cheese could be as filling as eggs. You can eat only cottage cheese or pair it with cinnamon, nuts, or seeds. Cottage cheese may help enhance body composition.
Including more protein in your meals is not as difficult as you may be anticipating. There are various meal options you can use to increase your protein intake without sacrificing many of your favorite foods.