You are probably already aware that the majority of food you will need when following any healthy diet can be found in the perimeter of the store. But did you know that there are still a few healthy choices that can be found in the internal aisles of the store, too? What’s more, you might be surprised to learn that there are some unlikely healthy high-protein options that you might normally pass by. Well consider this your personal shopping list for some of the best choices that can be found in any grocery store. These unlikely options can be used to interject some life into your diet and help you shift your body composition into overdrive to get you burning fat and putting on some lean muscle.
Canned Veggies: These are a great alternative to fresh, and canned beans are also full of fiber and protein and come in a wide variety of options. And one of the most popular canned veggies, tomatoes, are full of the antioxidant lycopene, vitamin A, E and K, and plenty of fiber.
Canned Tuna: A staple for most fitness competitors because of its high protein content— up to 40 grams in just one can. Tuna also packs a high amount of the powerful antioxidant selenium. Be sure though to always buy tuna that is solid white and packed in water.
Breads, Grains and Cereals
Sprouted Breads: Flourless, sprouted bread is what you should be eating your peanut butter or tuna sandwiches on! Made from sprouted whole grains and legumes, no bread has more protein— almost 8 grams per slice! It’s also full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and delicious flavor.
Steel Cut Oatmeal: Unlike the refined oatmeal that loses its nutrients during processing, steel cut oatmeal is hardier and denser. The result is a slower rise in blood sugar, which increases satiety, decreases your risk for diabetes and reduces the chance that any of this sugar will be converted to fat.
Non-Fat Cottage Cheese: The curd part of milk, one-half cup of one percent cottage cheese, offers only 100 calories and 15 grams of protein! It also provides calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C. Cottage cheese can make a great mid-day snack between meals since it has a slow digestion rate.
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt: Thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. But beyond its awesome taste, this yogurt has up to twice the amount of protein than other yogurts. It can be added to shakes, or eaten with berries and nuts! Opt for the non-fat, sugar-free option!
Meat and Poultry
Lean Ground Beef: Beef isn’t only naturally high in protein, but also in iron, which your body utilizes to transport oxygen to working muscles, as well as B vitamins, which help convert food into usable energy for lifting up the weights! Plus, it can provide a nice alternative to always eating steak; choose ground beef that contains cuts of higher quality beef like sirloin.
Turkey: A good substitute to chicken, turkey is also high in protein, and even a little leaner than chicken. For a 100-gram serving, turkey provides 160 calories, delivers 20 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat along with vitamin B6, B12, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin and the minerals iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and selenium.
Fruits & Veggies
Kale: This bitter green can kick up a salad. Kale contains a high amount of antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, which can help speed post-workout muscle recovery and repair. Plus kale also contains even more of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin than spinach.
Apples: Apple are full of the fiber pectin, which is a soluble fiber that helps keep blood cholesterol and sugar levels in check. Apples also contain a high amount of the potent antioxidant quercetin, which may boost the immune system.
Dark Chocolate: There is lots of research that supports the positive effects of the polyphenols in dark chocolate when it comes to heart disease. Unfortunately, most dark chocolate is full of sugar to counteract the bitter taste. Choose a rich dark chocolate that contains at least 60 percent polyphenols and limit to about 1 oz per serving!
Rice Cakes: These are perfect for snacks, or can serve as the perfect quick and convenient carbohydrate. They are low in calories at about 70 per cake! Just be sure to choose the plain or non-sweet varieties to avoid added sugar!
USDA nutrient database, http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/