Sneaky Ways to Eat Enough Protein
Let’s get Sneaky with Protein!
Do you struggle with eating enough protein during the day? I know I do.
It can be tough to eat enough protein if you’re plant-based, vegan, or if you simply just don’t enjoy meat.
Protein is involved in many processes in the body. It is a macronutrient for a reason. Meaning there is a reason we need it in large quantities.
Protein is involved in:
◊ cell growth and repair
◊ hormone and enzyme production
◊ hair and nail maintenance
◊ building muscle
and many other important body processes
Because protein is so important to maintaining health, you want to make sure you eat enough of it.
Just like there are creative ways to eat enough vegetables, there are some sneaky ways to eat enough protein.
Preparing meats, beans, and other protein sources ahead of time can help make sure you’re eating enough protein. Having healthy protein packed options ready to go at the open of a fridge can be a huge game changer. Every week I like to make sure I have meal-prepped some dried beans (because I am all about affordability) and some form of lean meat.
2. When in Doubt, Add in Some Beans
Beans are well-known for being a healthy plant-based source of protein! They also have the added benefit of being packed full of fiber which will help you feel full for longer (and keep you regular). I have been known to toss beans on to everything. Salads, bowls of rice and veggies, soups, and baked goods. They are so versatile and a great way to help make sure you’re getting healthy sources of protein. On the note of adding beans to recipes, peas are also a great thing to toss into meals for some added protein!
Pro-Tip: Beans are considered have incomplete proteins (excluding soybeans), so build complimentary proteins with them by eating them with rice or with nuts (like a salad topped with peanuts and garbanzo beans).
3. Throw in a Scoop of Collagen
For all the non-vegan or plant-based eaters, this option can help you get EXTRA sneaky with your protein. The struggle is real for me when it comes to eating enough protein. It’s so real that sometimes I have to resort to even the sneakiest of practices. Adding a scoop of collagen into guacamole, hummus, chia seed pudding, or even scrambled eggs can help you pack in protein. A benefit to using collagen is that it’s a high-quality complete protein with a mild taste.
Beef Gelatin is another great sneaky way to eat enough protein. However, it adds a more noticeable texture to food than collagen does. It’s so noticeable that I usually just use it to make these energy bites and maybe to firm up other recipes like my dairy-free cheesecake or my dairy-free mousse.
4. Use Nutritional Yeast
This tip is two-fold if you’re plant-based/vegan. First off, nutritional yeast provides 2 grams of protein and 40% of your vitamin B12 requirements (based off of a 2000 calorie diet) per 1 tbsp used. This is a huge deal because B12 is a vitamin found almost solely in animal-based products. The ability to access B12 in a plant-based food is amazing! But let’s not lose sight of the main idea of this post. This stuff also has a good amount of protein per tbsp so it’s a double whammy. My favorite way to use it is to top my popcorn with it, throw it on top of salads, roasted veggies, hummus, the list goes on. It has a cheesy/nutty flavor that you just can’t find any other plant products.
5. Keep Toppings and Add-ins Handy
You can add in peanut butter, chia seeds, hemp hearts, spinach, collagen, spirulina, and protein powders to help bulk up your drink. Make it even easier by meal-prepping smoothie bag in advance with the pre-scooped protein sources portioned out and ready to dump into the blender. It will help keep breakfast quick and healthy on busy mornings.
Get creative! Top your salads with a handful of nuts, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, or hemp seeds. Make a simple peanut butter salad dressing. Add-in a hard-boiled egg and or low-fat cheese.
Remember, changing your diet is a slow process
Your dietary habits didn’t just form overnight, a lifestyle changes won’t either. It will take time to make effective changes into your eating patterns that will overtime amount to a diet rich in quality proteins. Give yourself grace if you’re unable to meet your goals right out the gate. Slow changes like adding a tablespoon of hemp seeds to your salad every time you go to eat one will help instill healthy eating habits.
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