Most Americans get more than enough protein – and eating too much protein isn’t a good thing. But for those of us who hit the gym frequently and maintain high levels of muscle mass, it’s not always easy to get your daily requirement. I, for example, need about 140 grams of protein a day. That’s a tall order!
The easiest way to meet your protein requirement is with a high-quality protein supplement or shake. Unfortunately, they usually taste terrible – and so you may find yourself wanting to think outside the “shake.”
- Eat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has half the calories and twice the protein of traditional yogurt, thus making it a great choice.
- Add protein powder to other foods. If you add a scoop or two of protein powder to other foods – like oatmeal, muffins or pancakes – you’ll get the protein you need but without the nasty taste. Just make sure you use a protein flavor (like vanilla) that works with the food’s flavor.
- Stock up on cottage cheese. Love it or hate it, cottage cheese is another rich source of protein. In fact, 1 cup contains a whopping 28 grams. Mix in some fruit and sprinkle some almonds on top, and you are good to go!
- Consume lean meats. Chicken, turkey and other lean meats are a great way to get more protein. Not a carnivore? Try these 5 vegan protein tips.
- Start you day with eggs. As eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, they haven’t received nearly the amount of love that they deserve. There is a difference between dietary and blood cholesterol, and most people can enjoy eggs without seeing blood cholesterol spikes. If you’re concerned, opt for egg whites – but know that much of the egg’s 6.5 grams of protein are contained in the yolk.
- Protein-ify your salad. There are a ton of great ways to up the protein content of any salad. I love sprinkling sunflower seeds or nuts on my salads. Chickpeas are also a good source of protein. Or, top the salad with a hard-boiled egg or chicken.
- Snack on nuts and nut butters. Two tablespoons of peanut butter have 8 grams of protein; one fourth cup of unsalted peanuts has 7 grams. Find ways to incorporate nuts into your snacks (i.e., peanut butter and bananas, trail mix, etc.).
- Eat fish. Fish can be an extremely healthy addition to your diet – and many of us don’t eat enough. Just six ounces of tuna has 40 (yes, 40!) grams of protein. Bake it, broil it, grill it – or consume it raw (if it’s Sushi-grade).
- Get more plant-based protein sources. Though many people don’t realize it, plants and veggies can be a great source or protein. Beans, barley, brown rice, broccoli, artichoke, onions, potatoes, spinach, etc., are all good choices.
In other words, while protein supplements are easy, quick and effective, there are plenty of ways to think outside the shake and increase your protein intake. If you have any other tips, feel free to share them in the comments below!