Eating a healthy, balanced diet can be difficult. The population is generally busier than it used to be, and many of us spend our days juggling a lot of things including work, childcare, chores, and pet care. It is no wonder that, as a result, we often neglect ourselves, but it is vital to our health and wellbeing that we do our best to eat the recommended amount of the different food groups to ensure our bodies function optimally. Studies show that many people, especially older adults do not consume enough protein in their diets. A lack of protein can cause many problems, including liver disease, low blood pressure, anemia, and muscle weakness. If you are unsure of how to get more protein in your diet, this article will give you some tips.
Eat Protein-Rich Foods
A good diet should involve variety within each food group for the best results, and protein intake is no different. Some foods that are naturally rich in protein include:
- Meat and fish – lean meats such as chicken and turkey are high in protein and contain low levels of fat and are therefore good for cholesterol. Canned fish such as tuna, and fatty fishes like sardines, mackerel, and salmon are also a good source of protein.
- Dairy products are a great source of protein, as well as other nutrients like calcium and Vitamin D. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are all high in protein, although also contain a lot of fat, so consider healthier versions, such as cottage cheese, or Greek yogurt – which is particularly high in protein.
Some people with restricted diets, such as vegetarians and vegans, can find it harder to eat enough protein, but there are plenty of protein-rich, non-animal products:
- Legumes, such as peas, beans, and lentils are a good source of protein. Edamame beans and chickpeas are particularly good as they are so versatile.
- Seeds such as chia and quinoa.
- Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, almonds, and nut butter, such as peanut are high in protein and essential fatty acids. Try to avoid nut butter with added sugar though.
- Oats contain the highest amount of protein of all grains, so oatmeal is a good breakfast option.
Change How you Eat
Small lifestyle changes are a simple way to get more protein into your diet. By planning meals ahead, you can ensure you get your recommended daily intake of protein and other necessary nutrients. If eating meat, opt for grass-fed meat, and leaner, larger cuts of red meat such as sirloin, to increase the amount of protein. Eat the protein portion of your meal first, before you fill up on starchy food, which can also benefit your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Swap unhealthy snacks such as chips and pretzels for healthier, protein-rich snacks, such as healthy jerky, trail mix, or fruit and nut bars
Add a Protein Supplement to your Diet
When many people think of protein supplements, they picture muscular men downing a protein shake after a gym workout, and although protein supplements are helpful for building muscle, they can benefit the wider population too. Some companies produce high-quality protein supplements, which are actually sourced from grass fed American cows. If you are not a fan of shakes and smoothies, many protein powders can even be used in baking, for nutritious baked goods!
If you are above or below average weight, you may need to eat less or more protein than other people, so research this if you are unsure, and remember to include a variety of different protein sources in your diet for the best outcome.