How to Choose Healthy Sources of Protein : Maxener Wellness

Part 1 Picking the Best Animal Proteins

Buy lean cuts of meat and fish or trim off excess visible fat. Lean cuts of beef, poultry, fish, and pork can be protein powerhouses. Just be sure to trim excess fat from cuts of meat or buy ground products that have low fat contents.

  • For example, choose pork tenderloin instead of pork belly.
  • Fresh meat from the butcher section of a grocery store is much less likely to have added salt, fat, preservatives, or sugar than canned, frozen, dried, or pre-packaged options.
  • There are many canned and frozen options without added salts and oils, however; you just have to check the labels.
  • Buy meat and fish canned in water instead of oil, for instance, and buy frozen meat and fish products without breading and marinades.

Eat an egg a day. Eggs have the most complete amino acid profile found in nature apart from mother’s milk and, as such, are one of the best sources of protein available. They are also rich in phospholipids and several micronutrients like anti-oxidants, zinc, calcium, immunoglobulins, and minerals.

  • Try making an omelet, hard-boiled egg, or simply fry an egg in a pan.

Look for low-fat dairy, soy, and egg products. Milk, tofu, eggs, and similar products usually contain high amounts of animal or vegetable proteins. Opt for low-fat versions when possible to keep these protein sources as lean as possible.

  • Keep in mind that products like low-fat cottage cheese, part-skim mozzarella string cheese, and a single hard-boiled egg can be very nutritious high-protein snacks.

Part 2 Getting Protein From Other Sources

Eat nuts and nut butters with no added salt or sugar. Most natural nut butters do not contain added salt or sugar, but a quick check of the ingredient list or nutrition label should confirm that.

  • Peanut butter, almond butter, and other nut butters can be a great source of protein as well as iron and healthy fats.
  • When buying nuts pre-packaged or in bulk, opt for products that are unsalted or unflavored. Flavored nut products can contain alarming amounts of added salts and sugars, although some options may be roasted only with pure honey or chili powder, sans the extra sodium and simple carbohydrates. Always make sure to check the labels.

Eat bean and legume products. Dried beans, split peas, and lentils are full of protein and often contain no added ingredients. They are an excellent source of healthy protein.

  • Try using beans and other legumes in soups, stews, or casseroles. You can also get protein from the chickpeas used to make hummus.
  • Some packages of dried beans and legumes may sometimes include a flavoring packet, but adding your own herbs, spices, and even a bit of salt at home can greatly reduce the amount of sodium consumed when preparing these protein sources as soups or side dishes.
  • Frozen beans can also be healthy sources of protein with very few additives, but always check canned beans to avoid products with salt, sugar, and other seasonings if possible, as these can detract from the overall nutritional value of the beans.

Include quinoa in your diet. Quinoa is a kind of seed grain that serves as an excellent source of protein. It is often called a “power food” because of the vast number of health benefits attributed to quinoa consumption.

  • Quinoa also includes all nine essential amino acids that your body needs to function and grow.
  • This healthy protein option is also incredibly versatile for cooking. Quinoa goes well with vegetables or fruit, added to soup, or even made into a salad.
  • Cooking quinoa is a lot like cooking rice. You should add twice the amount of water to the quinoa and bring it to a boil. So, if you have one cup of quinoa, add two cups of water. After the water has begun to boil, put the heat on the low setting and cover the pot. Let it sit for twenty minutes and your quinoa will be ready to go.

Consume protein powders or shakes. Protein powders and shakes can be a great way to include extra protein in your diet. These products provide the body with necessary protein and amino acids necessary for muscle growth and general overall health.

  • You can buy these kinds of products at most health stores. You can even usually find them at larger merchandise retailers like Walmart or Target.

Part 3 Making Healthy Protein Choices

Know how much protein you need. In order to choose healthy sources of protein, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how much protein you actually need. To find your recommended dietary allowance for protein, multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 0.36 – this will give you the number of grams of protein you should eat each day.

  • You should have 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
  • Your body can benefit from additional protein consumption immediately before and after workouts. Eating protein before a workout will help give your body the energy it needs to complete the workout routine. Eating protein after will help your muscles recover and grow.

Track your protein intake. Keeping track of how much protein you consume is an important step in maintaining a balanced diet. In order to ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount of protein, keep track of how much protein you eat – that way, you can make adjustments if you need to.

  • Try keeping a food journal in which you document your food intake. Make special note of protein estimates.
  • If you find it hard to do the calculations yourself, try using an app that helps you track the protein you consume. With these apps, you typically search for the type of food consumed and then input the amount and the app calculates the protein for you.
  • Some popular protein tracking apps include EZ Protein Tracker, Protein+, and Protein Target.

Buy whole, unprocessed foods. This makes the selection of foods without added salts, fats, and sugars much easier. The more ingredients added and processing that happens to a food, the less healthy it will be for your body. You want to consume foods that are as close to natural as possible, then add your own flavoring if necessary.

  • Beans are a better source of protein when they are cooked and seasoned by the individual than when they are mixed with other ingredients in a can of bean soup.
  • Certain sauces, dressings, seasonings, flavorings, fillers, dips, and other additives or toppings can turn a fabulous, healthy protein source into a very unhealthy source of protein.

Purchase the leanest cuts of meat. Certain cuts and types of meat are naturally leaner than others. Try buying round, top sirloin, and tenderloin, or opt for turkey, chicken, or bison to limit fat and calories.

  • Although most meat from the butcher is free of additives, check the label for injected salt solutions, marinades, or sugar rubs. These can add calories and sodium to an otherwise healthy lean protein source in a hidden way.

Be extra mindful if you are vegan or vegetarian. Vegans and vegetarians don’t eat meat (or, for vegans, any animal products at all), so they miss out on the biggest source of protein available in our diets. If you are vegan/vegetarian, make sure you regularly consider your protein intake and try to supplement other options into your diet.

  • Vegetarians must consume a variety of protein sources each day to get the required amino acids, since vegetable protein sources may not contain the complete proteins necessary for health and are often lower in protein than animal products. Milk and eggs can be valuable.
  • Vegans rarely get the required complete set of amino acids required for healthy muscle tissue. Supplementation is often recommended.

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