If you know me, you know I am big on getting enough protein. Protein is important when it comes to our diets – especially as we get older. Learn more about why you need to make sure you are getting enough protein, foods that deliver it, and fun, yummy protein snack ideas!
Why You Need Protein
Part of an EVER BETTER™ body means nourishing yourself. Along with regular exercise and some self-care tactics, what you put in your body can have a big impact on how you look and feel. And protein is vital to many elements of being the best you YOU can be!
- Make you feel full, helping you to maintain a healthy weight
- Help with brain function and growth
- Help to lower cholesterol, when eaten as plant-based protein sources
- Build essential muscle – especially important as we age, because our bodies get less efficient at processing protein, and we need more protein to build the same amount of muscle
- Rebuild and repair skin and tissue
That’s why high-protein recipes are an important part of a balanced meal plan! The National Academy of Medicine recommends 7 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of weight for adults…. So if you are 140 pounds, you should aim for about 50 grams of protein every day. (As always, consult with your doctor before you make any dietary changes!)
Good Protein Sources
If this seems like a lot of protein to get in, simply focus on healthy protein sources that are delicious, too! And – you don’t have to break the bank to get your protein in, either. Yes, a steak is a good source of protein, but there are plenty of other ways to get protein that are cost effective. My top six are:
- Quinoa: With the highest protein content of any grain and providing all nine of the essential amino acids, quinoa is definitely a must in my recipe book! You can use it warm or cold, savory or sweet, and as a replacement for rice, oats or noodles in many dishes.
- Nuts: This is one of my go-to on-the-go protein snacks. I stash bags of nuts – usually walnuts and almonds – in the car, my home office, and in my purse. Snack on them, add them to a salad or stir fry, or use in baked goods for an extra (healthy!) dose of protein.
- Beans / Lentils: If you are looking for an inexpensive way to get more protein PLUS some added fiber to help keep you regular, beans and lentils are the way to go! Both are good sources of protein and fiber, and are perfect for people who follow vegetarian or vegan diets, as they can be eaten in abundance without breaking the bank.
- Eggs: Eggs are easy to cook, inexpensive and a good source of protein. I choose organic, cage-free, omega-3 enriched eggs, and keep hard boiled ones on hand for a quick, easy, protein-rich snack!
- Salmon: I love salmon – it’s not only good for our skin, but an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. I look for fresh or frozen wild caught filets, but canned salmon is an excellent choice when you want to save some money. My eating plan includes lots of tasty and easy-to-make salmon recipes, including Salmon Cakes, Maple Grilled Salmon, and more!
- EVER BETTER™ Protein Cookies: I developed these tasty cookie bites when I couldn’t find a sweet treat that was actually delicious, but also offered up protein, too. These have none of the chalky, protein powder taste many protein snacks have, and instead are soft, chewy bites that are low in sugar. gluten-free, and offer up six grams of protein in each serving! They come in a variety of delicious flavors, so check them out today!
Protein Snack Ideas
Now that you know the sources of protein, here are some fun ways to snack on protein!
- Hard boiled egg with hummus. Replace the yolk with hummus (or add on top of the egg) and then sprinkle with your favorite spices, such as fresh dill, paprika, or a dash of garlic powder. Simple and satisfying!
- A scoop of cottage cheese or plain yogurt with some crumbled EVER BETTER™ Protein Cookie Bites on top. It’s like an adult version of an ice cream treat – not too sweet, and you get protein from both the dairy and the cookie bites!
- Mini salmon cake patties. I make these ahead of time and keep in the fridge, then cut into pieces and dip into plain yogurt mixed with dill or other fresh herbs. It’s like a (much) healthier version of a chicken finger!
- Homemade trail mix. Start with some nuts, add in a little dried fruit, and then toss in a handful of dark chocolate chips for a sweet and savory snack that delivers the protein.
- Mini ice cream sandwiches. I take my Dark Chocolate Delight! EVER BETTER™ Protein Bites, and add a tiny scoop of frozen yogurt in between two, then freeze. A small, flavor-packed cold treat to satisfy those sweet cravings!
My DeniseAustin.com membership area includes a customizable Meal Plan… featuring plenty of high-protein recipe ideas!! Your 30-day free trial gives you immediate access to all the recipes I offer, as well as your own personalized meal plan: choose from Vegetarian, Low Sodium, Gluten Free and more! Start today and see all the yummy options I offer – recipes the whole family will enjoy!