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Whether you or your child are trying a plant-based diet or you just aren’t the biggest fan of protein-rich foods, it can be difficult to get enough protein in your diet.
This is partially because people often think of protein as coming from meat; in reality, there are tons of different sources for protein, many of which are actually better than meat.
As long as you’re willing to do your research, get creative in the kitchen, and challenge your taste buds a bit, you can easily get more protein in your diet.
1. Take Advantage of Breakfast
Many people think of breakfast as a quick snack you have before you head to work or school, but it has potential to be one of the most protein-rich meals of the day. Eggs, for example, are one of the best ways to get protein because they have 6 grams of protein compared to just 75 calories. They’re also carb free and incredibly affordable; you can usually get them for about $0.15 each.
The real beauty of breakfast lies in your choices, though. If you love eggs, there are about a million ways to cook them or pair them with other protein-rich foods. One slice of bacon contains about 40 calories and has 3 grams of protein. A breakfast sausage link has 70 calories and about 6 grams of protein. Cheese is also a good source of protein, and it can be added to your breakfast to make cheesy scrambled eggs, omelettes or breakfast scrambles.
If you don’t like eggs, you can buy or make protein waffles which can be topped with peanut or almond butter for extra protein. Hot cereal lovers will go crazy for steel cut oats, which have about 7g of protein for every cup of hot cereal. This can be increased by adding milk and other ingredients.
2. Think Outside the Burger
Thinking of meat as one of the only protein sources is a problem many of us face—and the biggest problem is miseducation. There are actually many non-meat foods that contain just as much, if not more protein than meat.
Nuts are high in both protein and flavor, and you have a couple different choices for healthy ones. Pistachios and almonds are two of the best; pistachios have about 25 grams of protein per cup while almonds have about 20 grams. Both of these nuts can be eaten plain, added to salads or baked goods, and more.
If you enjoy cheese, have at it. Although many dairy products have been demonized over the years and said to contain too much fat, cheese is a great source of protein with 7 grams and only 110 calories per slice. Plus, a recent study found that fat may not be as bad as we thought. You also have a lot of choices when it comes to cheese; if you’re bored of eating cheddar, try a delicious gouda or gruyere.
Another great way to get protein is Greek yogurt. This delicious dairy product has gained popularity over the last decade because it’s one of the best ways to get protein in a vegetarian diet. One container of Greek yogurt has about 100 calories and 17 grams of protein, plus you can use it as a base for sauces, dips and dressings, smoothies and baking.
3. Put Some Powder in Your Life
If you’re still having trouble getting protein in your diet with the aforementioned methods, you can always get a little bit of help in the form of protein powder. There are many different types of protein powder, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
You have to conduct a bit of research when deciding on a protein powder. Protein powders with BCAAs in them are designed for people who want to gain muscle, so they’re counterintuitive if you’re trying to lose weight. Some powders aren’t vegan, so you need to be aware of that, too.
Whey protein powder is one of the best choices as it’s easily digested and full of all the amino acids you need. It does come from milk, though, so it’s not vegan.
Getting more protein in your diet doesn’t mean eating massive steaks every day. You can eat a balanced, varied diet while still getting plenty of protein—and flavor!