Protein is key when it comes to building muscle and maintaining a lean body. It has been shown that eating a diet that is higher in protein can result in better results –control over your hunger and appetite, an increase in metabolism, and quicker weight loss versus other diets of the same calories. If you’re tired of just eating chicken, consider adding more protein to your diet with these simple foods.
1. Try Quinoa
Instead of relying on the same old carbs like sweet potato or brown rice, choose a grain that is higher in protein such as quinoa. Quinoa is gluten-free, and in addition to offering all nine essential amino acids, it is also high in fiber, B-vitamins, vitamins E, and minerals including potassium, calcium and iron. A 1 cup serving offers up 8 g of protein and 39 g of carbs, versus 1 cup of rice that only offers 5 g of protein and 45 g of carbs.
2. Add Beans
Beans are not only high in fiber, but they’re also a slow digesting, fibrous carb that can help curb hunger. There are about 17 different varieties of beans, each with a unique flavor that can be paired with different meals. Some of the most common are pinto, kidney, black and broad bean. Beans can be added to sauces, salads, or made into side dishes. They can be eaten cold or hot! On average per 100 g beans can provide almost 10 g of protein and 10 g of carbs.
3. Top with Seeds
Seeds are a great way to add more protein, and also more texture to a meal. Pumpkin seeds deliver 5 g of protein and 5 g of fiber per serving, not to mention 5 g of healthy fats. Another great seed worth adding to your baked goods, shakes or even your oatmeal is chia seeds. Chia delivers about 5 g of protein and 12 g of carbohydrates per 1 oz. They’re also high in omega-3’s offering up 7 g per serving. Chia seeds can also help reduce appetite, because majority of the carbs are from fiber, and only 1 g can be considered an impact carb.
4. Toss in Peas
Even if you’re not a big fan of peas, it’s hard to ignore their high protein value. A 1-cup serving delivers just 21 g of carbs, 7 g fiber and 8 g of protein! Not to mention they also deliver 96% of your daily value for vitamin C and 22% of your daily value for vitamin A, making this veggie very high in antioxidants. Toss in cooked peas into your salad, add it to your quinoa or brown rice, or make a veggie side that contains peas.
5. Go Nutty
You’re probably adding nuts to your diet already, but for their great source of healthy fats. Nuts are also a good source of protein. In fact nuts have about as much carbs as they do protein. All of these characteristics can help them to reduce hunger between meals, because the composition of nuts slows down digestion rate. Have a handful of nuts as a snack, add them to a salad, or add a teaspoon of your favorite nut butter to a smoothie recipe.
6. Switch to Greek
Yogurt is a great source of protein, but Greek yogurt is even better. Greek yogurt uses a specific filtering process that leaves behind a higher protein, thicker product. A 170 g serving delivers just 100 calories, 6 g of carbs and a whopping 17 g of protein! Use Greek yogurt in your smoothies, or try making a breakfast smoothie bowl that includes Greek yogurt, your favorite fruits and low sugar granola.
7. Scoop it
You may not be a fan of whey protein, but its’ hard to deny it ease of use. Consider using an all-natural whey protein that is from cows that are grass fed and haven’t been exposed to hormones. Whey protein can deliver 20 to 30 g of pure protein per serving depending on the brand and the blend. If you’re not a dairy supplement fan consider using a vegan plant based protein that uses a combination of ingredients such as pea, hemp, and or brown rice protein powder. Protein powder can be added to baked goods, pancakes, homemade protein bars or cookies, or of course smoothies.