Everywhere you look there seems to be a new product advertising itself as being ‘high protein,’ from yoghurts to breads, cereals, milk drinks, snack bars and powders. It’s no longer just the body builders and athletes who are undertaking a high protein diet, the everyday person is also learning the benefits of eating more protein. Some of the reasons we need an adequate protein intake include:
- Protein is an important part of every cell in the body
- Protein helps build bone, muscle, skin, cartilage and blood
- It helps to grow muscles
- Protein helps to repair cells and grow new ones
- Protein is not stored so the body needs a constant source
- Keeps your feeling fuller for longer
- Protein is a macronutrient, along with carbohydrates and fats. This means the body needs it in larger quantifies to stay healthy.
We all know that meat and seafood are great sources of protein. But for all of those non meat eaters out there, there are many other options for you to choose from. Here’s just a few:
Oats are one of those foods that has so many benefits, including being cheap, high in fibre, magnesium and calcium and contain a good wack of protein. Check out one of my recent blog posts to find out the many benefits of oats.
Nuts are a great source of protein and a tasty snack. But almonds are particularly high in protein, about 21g per 100g serve.
Tofu is often used as an alternative to the meat source in many dishes, because it offers a heartiness to a dish, which vegetarian dishes often lack. It’s also a good source of protein and takes on flavour well, making it versatile.
I recently completed a post on the benefits of protein yoghurts and what to look for when deciding what to buy. But basically a high protein, Greek yoghurt, will provide about 15g of protein per serve.
Chickpeas and beans
Not only are beans and chickpeas high in protein, they can also assist in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and help control blood sugar levels. I always keep cans of different beans in my cupboard, so I can add them to meat dishes, Bolognese, chilli con carne and slow cooker stews. Try this recipe for chickpea protein slice.
Edamame beans are soy beans, picked while they are green and not yet matured. They contain all 9 essential amino acids and contain a variety or vitamins and minerals. Half a cup of edamame contains about 11g of protein and a wealth of other good stuff.
Whilst lentils do lack some of the essential amino acids, they are still a decent source of protein, with about 9g per half cup.
As you can see, if you choose to be vegetarian there are still plenty of options for you to achieve a healthy, daily protein intake.
So how much protein do we really per day? It is recommended that we have 0.8g per 1kg of body weight. So for me being 68kg, its 54.4g per day, although, this is very dependant on the individual. For someone like me who trains often and wants to build muscle, I eat more protein, around 120g per day.