Protein builds muscles and keeps hair, skin and nails healthy and happy. Plus, it helps keep you satisfied longer so you don’t snack between meals. Meat is probably the most common source, and easy enough to procure (FYI three ounces, or the size of your fist, constitutes one serving of meat)
Are you eating too much meat? Are you only eating meat? About 25% to 35% of your daily calorie intake should be protein-based, but if you’re eating meat more than once a day or every day, you’re eating too much, and you’re not giving your body a variety of proteins”which you need. There are five other places where you should be looking for your protein.
They may not be your best friend and, depending on your intestinal system, they may prevent you from being your best friends’ best friend too (just kidding). Just the word beans scares many people, but it shouldn’t. This word is merely the umbrella to a world of chick peas, lentils, refried beans, Romano beans, white kidney beans, and more. Each type of bean can be made in so many ways that you’re sure to find several that fit the bill and hit the spot!
Romano beans and chick peas taste great with tomato sauce and pasta; a carbohydrate like pasta also completes the protein, as vegetable sources of protein are incomplete (meat and dairy products offer a complete protein). You can also boil chick peas and set them aside with a dose of parsley for a simple salad or side dish.
Refried beans require only a few minutes on the stove with a few drops of water for added moisture and a powdered taco seasoning for flavour. Scoop the beans onto a tortilla with lettuce, salsa, cheddar cheese and your favourite toppings to make a tasty taco.
Eight nuts, or a handful, equate one serving of protein. That doesn’t sound too difficult! Don’t forget that salty nuts aren’t your best friend; the closer your food is to nature, the better it is for you. Buy nuts in their shell, gather around the table with your closest friends, and chat about life while passing around the nutcracker. The protective shell around the nut also protects you”from eating too much. Working hard for your meal and waiting patiently while friends struggle with the nutcracker will pay off”and you’ll probably get in a few laughs! (Which, might I mention, is healthy!)
Tofu, edamame, veggie burgers”they’re all soy products, and they each taste so different that you can’t get tired of them. Tofu adopts the taste of what surrounds it, making it easy to sneak it into any meal. Edamame is a simple side dish best heated and sprinkled with a light dose of salt, while veggie burgers create a wholesome and filling meal. But be careful; eating too much soy has been known to increase the occurrence of cancer in women.
This food group is typically a great protein queen. A one-ounce block of cheese (the size of two thumbs put together) or 175 grams of yogurt (the medium-sized cups you see, not those huge packages or cute and tiny ones!) equals one serving of dairy, and gives you protein.
Cheese is easy to incorporate into any dish; spruce up a house party with a cheese platter or snack on cheese and crackers. Plain yogurt can replace sour cream in your tacos”which also have refried beans, as you recall”while grated Parmesan cheese adds wonderful flavour your pasta and beans.
Let’s not forget about eggs! Eggs are rich in omega-3, a much sought-after nutrient that is difficult to find in other places.
You may find that adding variety to your diet is not only healthy, but adds a spice of life!