5 Easy Ways to Eat More Protein without Supplements or Powders
Protein is an important macronutrient that builds and maintains muscle, helps you feel satiated, and provides your body with key vitamins and nutrients. Protein is also generally leaner and more filling than other food sources, which helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin and helps lead to fat loss.
However, it can be difficult to get enough protein in your diet, especially since contemporary Western diets are often dominated by low-quality foods high in processed carbohydrates, sugars, and greasy fats. Depending on your size or activity levels, you should try to eat between 80 to 180 grams of protein daily.
Try these five easy ways to consume more protein without resorting to powders, shakes, or supplements.
1. Eat the Meats
It is no secret meat is one of the best sources of protein possible. Here is approximately how much protein you can find in 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of the following meats:
•Chicken and Turkey: 30 grams
•Beef: 26 grams
•Lamb: 25 grams
•Pork: 27 grams
•Sardines: 25 grams
•Tuna and Cod: 23 grams
•Salmon: 20 grams
3.5 ounces is just a little less than a quarter pound and is roughly the same size as a smartphone. Rather than eating a lot of meat in one sitting, try eating a moderate amount at each meal or cutting it up and adding it to sandwiches or salads. Try to get meats that are organic, non-processed, non-GMO, grass-fed, or wild-caught (for fish) to get the best possible quality.
2. Get Egg-Cited
Eggs are lean, tasty, quick to prepare, and are an excellent low-calorie source of protein. An average egg will contain about 6 total grams of protein – approximately 4 grams of protein in the white and 2 grams of protein in the yolk. Larger or jumbo sized eggs will have up to 8 grams of protein per egg. Try to get local pastured or organic eggs for the best quality.
Eggs are easy to make and are an excellent choice for any meal, especially breakfast or lunch. Eating eggs in the morning can help you start off the day with a filling and satisfying meal and just 4 eggs can provide 24 to 30 grams of protein. Adding eggs to salads or as sides to meals can also be a convenient and delicious way to increase your protein consumption.
3. Go Nuts
Nuts are easy to eat and are high in protein and can be an excellent option for healthy snacking. Pretzels, chips, and crackers are filled with processed carbohydrates, sodium, and empty calories. Nuts are just as crunchy and delicious and provide your body with far better nutrients.
Replace your junk snacks with nuts to simultaneously cut down on empty calories while also consuming more protein. If possible, purchase non-GMO or organic. The following popular nuts have some of the highest amounts of protein per ounce:
•Peanuts: 7 grams
•Almonds, Pistachios: 6 grams
•Cashews: 5 grams
•Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts, Pine Nuts: 4 grams
•Pecans: 3 grams
•Macadamia: 2 grams
4. Dabble in Dairy
Even if you’re lactose intolerant or prefer to avoid dairy, you may want to try some high-protein dairy options. One cup of milk has 8 grams of protein, but more solid and fermented dairy products such as cheeses or yogurts contain even more. These products also contain less lactose as much of it is lost or drained away during processing. Many of these products are available organic, non-GMO, or with limited amounts of antibiotics or hormones. Here are the protein contents of several healthy dairy and cheese options:
•Kefir: 11 grams / cup
•Yogurt: 12 grams / cup
•Greek Yogurt: 22 grams / cup
•Parmesan: 10 grams / ounce
•Romano: 9 grams / ounce
•Low-Fat Swiss or Low-Fat Cheddar: 7.5 grams / ounce
•Nonfat Mozzarella: 7 grams / ounce
•Provolone or Gouda: 7 grams / ounce
5. Help Yourself to Whole Grains
Despite recent low-carb crazes, eating moderate amounts of non-processed, complex whole grain carbohydrates is healthy and necessary. Whether it’s bread, pasta, or side dishes, eat these protein-packed whole grains instead of the common nutrient-poor white or processed variety. Many whole grains (with the exception of wheat) are also naturally gluten-free. Here is the protein content per cooked cup of some popular whole grains:
•Quinoa: 8 grams
•Whole Wheat Pasta: 7 grams
•Wild Rice: 6.5 grams
•Millet: 6 grams
•Oatmeal: 6 grams
•Buckwheat: 6 grams
Regardless of your goal, increasing the protein in your diet can help you feel healthier, stronger, leaner, and better nourished. By adding some of these healthy protein sources to each meal or snack you can increase the quantity of your overall protein intake without purchasing shakes, powders, or supplements.