Questions about protein sources seem to be popping up all over the place for me today! I’ve been wanting to get back into the routine of blogging so I thought what better subject than protein?! It is so important and so lacking in a lot of our diets. Our diets are way too carb-heavy! No wonder so many people are fatigued and have an afternoon crash in energy. Below I will share with you some tips on adding protein to your diet, along with some recipes to make it even easier!
First of all, I’ll share a bit about how much protein is necessary. The recommended daily intake of protein is 0.8g/kg. This is for a sedentary adult and is approximately 56g/day for the average male and 46g/day for the average female.
The more physical activity you do in a day, the more protein you need to eat. For an average physically active adult, make this calculation simple by aiming for 1g/kg/day. Therefore, grams needed per day is equal to your weight in kilograms.
Remember that not all protein is created equal! Protein is made up of amino acids and there are 9 essential amino acids. Complete protein sources are those that contain all the essential amino acids. These include meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Grains and legumes on their own are incomplete proteins but when eaten together they contain all the essential amino acids. The best way to get adequate protein is to eat a variety of protein sources throughout the day.
Here is a great source to check for protein content of different foods: http://www.todaysdietitian.com/pdf/webinars/ProteinContentofFoods.pdf
Breakfast: Add protein to your breakfast by adding:
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt = 18g protein
- 1 cup regular yogurt = 11g protein
- ½ cup cottage cheese = 14g protein
- 1 cup milk = 8g protein
- 2 hard boiled eggs = 12g protein
- 2 tbsp almond butter = 12g protein
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed = 6g protein
- 2 tbsp chia seeds = 5g protein
Overnight Oats (Adapted from http://www.katheats.com/favorite-foods/overnightoats )
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup milk (dairy, almond, or coconut)
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
- Pinch salt
- Pinch cinnamon
Stir everything together in a bowl or mason jar. Place in fridge overnight. In the morning top with any of the protein sources listed above.
Lunch: Salads are an easy, quick, and nutritious lunch option! Add protein to your salad by adding:
- 2 hard boiled eggs = 12g protein
- Handful of nuts or seeds (2 oz) = 8-12g protein depending on the nut/seed
- ½ can salmon = 22g protein
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds = 10g protein
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds = 9g
- Cheese (1oz) = approx. 7g protein
Here are some good salad recipes with hemp seeds for added protein: http://manitobaharvest.com/recipes/category/3875/salads.html
Oven-Fried Salmon Cakes (Adapted from: http://meljoulwan.com/2014/11/10/oven-fried-salmon-cakes/ )
- 1 can salmon
- 1 cup cooked or canned sweet potato/pumpkin
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 2 tbsp)
- 2 scallions, white and green, very thinly sliced
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp paprika (I’ve also tried it with 1/2 tsp cumin and 1 tsp turmeric and it was delicious!)
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp ghee, melted (butter or coconut oil also works)
Preheat oven to 425F and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Drain liquid from the salmon and crumble the fish into a large mixing bowl. Add the sweet potato, eggs, almond flour, parsley, scallions, salt, paprika, and black pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Brush the parchment paper with some of the ghee, then us a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop the cakes and drop them onto the parchment. The patties should be about 2.5 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Brush the tops of the cakes with ghee, then back for 20 minutes. Carefully flip each patty with a spatula and return to the oven. Bake an additional 10 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Snacks: A good snack will combine carbohydrates and a healthy fat or protein.
Some simple ideas:
- Hummus (1/2 cup chickpeas = 7g protein) and veggies/crackers.
- Apples or bananas with nut butter.
- Crackers with goat cheese
- 1 scoop of protein powder in water. Buy a shaker bottle! It makes this such an easy snack 🙂
No Bake Energy Bites (Adapted from: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/no-bake-energy-bites/ )
- 1 cup (dry) oatmeal
- 2/3 cup coconut flakes
- ½ cup nut butter
- ½ cup ground flax seed
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Dinner: Include a meat, fish or poulty in your dinner to make sure you get a complete protein.
- ½ cup chicken = 28g protein
- ½ cup steak = 26g protein
- ½ cup pork = 22g protein
Easy Chicken Stew. (Adapted from: http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2009/03/simple-dinners.html)
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
- 4-5 carrots, chopped
- 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 TBSP arrowroot powder
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
- Black pepper
Heat skillet over medium heat with olive oil. Add onions and sauté until soft. Then add celery, carrots, potatoes, garlic and thyme. Sauté for a few minutes until they start to soften.
Combine the stock and arrowroot powder and whisk until well combined. Add this mixture to the skillet and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add peas and chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes, until the vegetables are completely cooked. Add salt and pepper. Enjoy!
How much protein to you eat each day?