8 Tips for Getting Enough Healthy Protein

protein food

Follow these tips if you are looking to get more protein in your diet (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Protein is essential to good health because it is involved in every critical function within your body. On average, American adults should be getting 10-35% of their calories each day from protein. For men that means about 56 grams and for women it means about 46 grams. You can get ample protein simply from eating a diet based on meat. Of course, you want a balance of meat and plant proteins. These eight tips will help you get enough protein.

1.   Focus on Lean Meats

Meat definitely has a place in a diet filled with healthy protein and you have easy access to lean pork, beef, and chicken. The reason you need seafood and red meat in your diet is because it’s the best source of zinc, an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining a sense of smell, keeping a healthy immune system, building proteins, triggering enzymes, and creating DNA. While some plant proteins can provide this important mineral too, they can’t at the level and quality of seafood and red meats. Beef and other red meats are also a good source of iron, choline (that supports our nervous system development) and selenium (helps protect cells from damage).

2.   Diversify

When most of us think of protein, meat is all that comes to mind but there are many other sources of protein that are not meat based. Varying the sources of your protein can help you manage calorie and fat intake while also keeping meal time interesting and inviting.

3.   Re-acquaint Yourself with the Incredible Edible Egg

Eggs, like the ones produced by Arizona farms, are a great source of protein. Adding an egg to your morning breakfast plate or eating a hard boiled one for a snack are both easy ways to get this healthy protein into your day.

4.   Go Nuts!

Nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans are all excellent sources of healthy proteins. Nuts and seeds make great snacks and beans, lentils, and other legumes are perfect ways to add protein to a soup, stew, or salad.

5.   Dip Into Some Dairy

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are all also good sources of healthy protein. Including low-fat dairy products at various points throughout the day will help you get your protein and boost your calcium intake.

6.   Eat it on the Side

Many times the protein in our meal features prominently on the plate and is considered the main course, but there are lots of delicious side dishes that also provide healthy protein. Eating things like hummus, bean salad, and lentils which are all excellent sources of protein will make it easy to get the right amount of protein without the entire meal centering on protein.

7.   Have a Salad

Many of the dark leafy green vegetables that are so good for us also provide a healthy source of protein. Vegetables like spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and even artichokes serve us a solid helping of protein along with all the other vitamins and nutrients they provide.

8.   Go for the Grain

There are some ancient grains like quinoa and amaranth are packed with protein and full of fiber. Using them instead of carb heavy potatoes or rice can help you get more healthy protein without the extra calories.

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