Healthy High Protein Foods
When we hear the phrase high protein we often think of beefy bodybuilders or people trying to bulk up rather than slim down. However, protein is not only the building block for our muscles, it is also a key factor for losing weight. Protein breaks down slower than carbohydrates. What this means is you’ll have long-term energy rather than short-term energy, you’ll be more full longer and can significantly cut down on sweet cravings. Sounds pretty amazing, right?
In fact, the second most common mistake I see in my nutrition practice is diets that are too low in protein (the most common mistake I see is under eating). Typically we do a good job at lunch and dinner, but breakfast and snacks are where protein seems to fall through the cracks. In order to understand how we can incorporate more protein, let’s look at the primary sources of protein in our diet:
Great Animal Protein Sources
- Chicken (38 g of protein for 1 cup)
- Beef (between 20-110 g of protein depending on cut)
- Fish (between 19-45 g of protein depending on type)
- Eggs (6 g of protein) for 1 large egg
- Milk (8 g of protein in 1 cup)
- Cheese (7-28 g of protein depending on type)
- Greek yogurt (17 g of protein in 1 container)
- Mixed Nuts (27 g of protein in 1 cup)
- Soybeans (68 g of protein in 1 cup)
- Tofu (20 g of protein in 1 cup)
- Edamame (17 g of protein in 1 cup)
- Beans (7-39 g of protein in 1 cup depending on type)
- Lentils (18 g of protein in 1 cup)
- Hemp seeds (89.6 g of protein in 1 cup)
Great Vegetarian Protein Sources
It is important to note that almost all food has some level of protein and this vegetarian list is far from exhaustive. I chose ones that are my favorite, have at least 8-10g of protein per serving and were easily accessible. If you have other great sources of protein I would love to hear about them in the comment section below!
Combine Carbs and Protein For An Energy-Filled Meal
A great rule of thumb is every time you eat; make sure it has a source of protein as well as a carbohydrate. Here are a few examples:
- Oatmeal – add hemp hearts or almond butter
- Fruit – pair with cheese or yogurt
- Salad – top with chicken, egg or lentils
- Pasta – add ground turkey or edamame
- Sliced veggies – serve with hummus
For other great protein-packed snack options, check out my blog post 5 Healthy Snacks on the Go .
So if you have a goal of losing weight, have been suffering from a dip in energy or feel like your carb/sweet cravings are sabotaging your success, try focusing on eating more protein. You will find that this easy rule of thumb is the secret weapon you need!