If you are like me, you are looking for easy ways to get more healthy and protein is a key component in your plan.
Now, there are multiple areas of your lifestyle that you can focus on to achieve this, but one of the most important (that will likely have the biggest and most noticeable impact) is your diet.
Throughout lockdown, many of us have started eating unhealthier foods on a day to day basis.
Whether you are eating out of comfort or convenience, you need to change your ways before it gets out of control.
Making immediate changes, like eating a balanced diet, ensure you’re providing your body with the fuels that it needs.
The best approach is to come up with a healthy and balanced diet plan, rather than following fad diets and dietary trends.
Diets that cut certain food groups out of your diet deprive your body of necessary nutrients and aren’t generally sustainable.
Sure, you may lose weight when you’re on the diet, but you’re likely to see it come back on as soon as the diet ends.
One area that you need to focus on is getting enough protein.
This is particularly important if you are pairing your new diet with plenty of exercise.
Here are some foods to add into your diet to up your protein intake.
While supplements aren’t the only place that you can source protein, they are perhaps the easiest way to add a little extra protein into your diet.
When you invest in protein products, you’re purchasing something that has been specifically formulated and manufactured to contain high levels of protein.
You can guarantee you’re getting a good hit!
Of course, when we think of supplements, the majority of us will generally think of tablets, capsules, or pills.
But when it comes to protein supplements, the most popular form of supplement on the market is protein powders that can be used to make protein shakes, pancakes and more.
The most popular form of protein powder is whey protein powder, as this generally contains the highest levels of protein.
However, if you’re vegan, you can find plenty of vegan protein powders nowadays too.
Another great plant based form of protein exists in quinoa, pronounced – keen wah.
While you may not have tried quinoa before, it is delicious and is becoming increasingly in demand.
While in the past you may have had to visit your local health food store to find this, you can now find it, in the rice section, at most supermarkets.
This makes it easier to simply add to your weekly food shop.
The great news is that quinoa contains roughly eight grams of protein in every cupful serving.
Seitan is another food that is cropping up in more and more supermarkets.
It’s a food that was originally developed by Buddhist monks as a direct substitute for red meat.
It contains a truly impressive twenty-one grams of protein for every one-third of a cup serving.
So, if you’re looking for a quick protein hit, this is a great option for you.
Just bear in mind that it contains a lot of gluten, so is unsuitable for those on a gluten free diet.
Protein in Beans
Beans are among the oldest foods known to man, dating back at least 4,000 years.
They come in a board range of categories – fresh and dried.
Some beans, such as black-eyed peas, lima beans, and cranberry beans, can be found in both fresh and dried forms.
If cooked properly, fresh beans contain a fair amount of vitamins A and C, but lima beans are especially a good source of protein.
Dried beans are rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron.
Their high protein content, along with the fact they can be easily grown and stored, make them a staple throughout many parts of the world.
Dried beans usually need to be soaked in water for several hours, or overnight, to rehydrate them before cooking.
Beans labeled “quick-cooking” have been presoaked and re-dried before packaging; they require no presoaking and take considerably less time to prepare.
The kidney beans commonly used to make chili are not only high in protein but also rich in antioxidants.
Soybeans have the most protein of any other variety of beans.
Fava beans have about 13 grams of protein per serving.
Every cell in the human body contains protein.
The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids.
You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones.
In recent years, food companies have created plant-based products loaded in protein, to appeal to vegetarians.
Lightlife has an entire line of products used as a meat substitute.
One of my favorite ways to get extra protein is from bean based pasta.
Below is a recipe using pasta made from LENTIL BEANS.
Of course, there are plenty of other sources of protein out there, but these should get you off to a good start!
Red Lentil Pasta
- 8 oz. Red Lentil Penne Pasta
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 fresh tomato, chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped green and white parts
- 8 oz. cooked, favorite protein optional
- 2 Tbsps. basil, freshly chopped for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
- 2 Tbsps. butter
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme and dried oregano
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 Tbsp. of Kosher salt. Stir. Add pasta. Cook as specified on package directions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
- In a 12-inch, non-stick skillet, melt 2 Tbsps. butter over medium-heat. Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
- Whisk in flour, cook, stirring constantly until lightly brown - about one minute.
- Slowly whisk in heavy cream, stirring until completely incorporated and smooth.
- Add thyme, oregano, pepper flakes, and cheese. Whisk continuously for 3-4 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Add cooked protein if desired.Add chopped scallions.
- Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta and incorporate thoroughly.
- Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and basil. Serve hot.
PRODUCTS YOU CAN ORDER FOR THIS RECIPE: