Powering through the day with a punch of healthy protein
Most often, a typical day of eating in America looks like: a carb-heavy breakfast, a sandwich or salad at lunch, and an overly large serving of meat and protein for dinner.
The majority of us tend to eat a lot of our protein during our evening meals instead of getting 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal per day. The key is to spread your protein intake throughout the day. Here are some great tips to help add more protein to all of your meals:
Breakfast: Starting your day with breakfast that includes protein may help you feel satisfied, helping you feel fuller throughout the first half of your day. Instead of grabbing a regular granola bar when you’re heading out the door, try a granola bar with at least 10 grams of protein.
Greek yogurts are a quick way to add 12 to 15 grams of protein to your breakfast. Make egg muffins or burritos ahead of time for quick breakfast options. Try adding peanut butter or milk instead of water to your oatmeal or smoothie in the morning.
Lunch: A busy morning might mean you didn’t have time to grab anything for lunch. You often find yourself eating out, grabbing something from the vending machines, or eating a salad lacking protein.
Adding enough protein to lunch will keep you full throughout the afternoon. Try adding lentils and beans to your salads or wraps for added protein. Don’t forget hard-boiled eggs, which contain six grams of protein each. Top your fruit with a 1/2-cup of cottage cheese to get an extra 13 grams of protein. Need an afternoon snack? Try a half a cup of edamame which has 11 grams of protein or an ounce of nuts containing six to seven grams of protein.
Dinner: Your evening meal is most often the easiest to prepare a protein dish for, whether you have soup or stew cooking in your slow cooker or your favorite chicken or pork cooking in the oven.
Shrimp can make a great addition to stir-fry with your favorite vegetables. There are a variety of prepared protein options that include chicken or beef fajitas or beef or chicken kabobs, which only take a few minutes to cook.
A good rule of thumb to remember: three ounces of flank steak, ground beef, ground turkey, chicken breast, pork chop and most fish all contain about 25 grams of protein.
Try out these protein-packed Tomatillo Breakfast Tacos that have 20 grams of protein.
Tomatillo Breakfast Tacos
-1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
-6 medium tomatillos (about eight ounces), husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
-1/4 cup chopped onion
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-4 large eggs, lightly beaten
-1/4 tsp. ground pepper
-1/8 tsp. salt
-4 small (four- to five-inch) corn or whole wheat tortillas, warmed
-1/4 cup crumbled queso blanco or feta cheese
1. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tomatillos, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid from the tomatillos is evaporated, eight to 12 minutes.
2. Add eggs, pepper and salt and cook, stirring, until the eggs are just set, two to three minutes more. Divide the scrambled eggs among the tortillas and sprinkle with cheese.
To warm tortillas, wrap in barely damp paper towels and microwave on high temperature for 30 to 45 seconds, or wrap in foil and bake at 300 degrees until steaming, five to 10 minutes.
Nutrition Facts per serving (two tacos): 418 calories, 24g fat, 8g saturated fat, 389mg cholesterol, 498mg sodium, 32g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 6g sugars and 20g protein
Daily values: 14 percent vitamin A, 24 percent vitamin C, 23 percent calcium and 18 percent iron.
Recipe source: Adapted from EatingWell, Inc.