Protein is a macronutrient that supports your body in many things such as stabilizing blood sugar levels, achieving a state of satiety, curbing sugar cravings and repairing muscles post workout. There are lots of different ways to consume protein, be it animal and / or plant sources. The key is quality! Don’t buy into gimmicky protein powders and supplements unless you really need them. The goal is to opt for real whole foods that have been sourced responsibly. Below are some of my favorite protein rich foods and ways to enjoy them:
Animal proteins include those from both the land and the sea. Look for pasture-raised and organic eggs and poultry, wild and sustainably caught fish and shellfish, and 100% grass-fed and organic meat etc. Eggs make for the perfect breakfast as they contain a good source of both protein and fat with fat-soluble vitamins. There’s nothing like grilled chicken or pan-seared salmon on top of a big leafy green salad for lunch. Slow cooked red meat like beef and lamb is delicious when served with baked root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips.
Bone broth made with the bones from animals raised and fed 100% organically on grass is full of bioavailable protein in the form of amino acids such as collagen and gelatin. Drink it as a tea, use it to cook whole grains and legumes in place of water, and make delicious soups with it. Also check out this article: "The Ultimate Guide to Bone Broth".
Legumes include beans, peas and lentils. I love to put beans in my salads, peas in my stir-fry or use them as a side dish, and lentils in my bone-broth based soups along with a ton of veggies for a plant-based protein hit.
Nuts and seeds are loaded with fiber, beneficial fats and plant-based protein. Lather almond butter on a brown rice cake or some apple slices for a satisfying snack, sprinkle hemps seeds on your morning steel cut oats, add a couple of tablespoons of ground flax to your smoothies, and enjoy homemade trail mix using all your favorites including pumpkin seeds and cashews. Did you know that quinoa is technically a seed and is a complete source of protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids?
Whole grains are grains that you have cooked on the stovetop yourself! Some of my favorites include steel cut oats, buckwheat, wild rice and brown rice. Others include millet, teff and amaranth, all of which are gluten free. While considered a dense source of carbohydrates for energy, most whole grains contain a decent amount of protein too, especially buckwheat, amaranth and wild rice.
Microalgae include spirulina and chlorella. Both can be added in small amounts to green veggie juices and smoothies. Some people even like to add them to kale chips or green veggie soups. This source of protein is very easy to digest.
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