Out of all the nutrients, we eat every day, you better believe protein is one of the most important.
You hear about it all the time – better get your protein – and they’re not joking. Amino acids are the essence of protein. They help build and maintain your muscle. They’re also what help wounds heal. Without protein, healing is out of the question.
Every human needs to eat about 10 to 15% of their total calories each day in protein. A good rule of thumb is 0.4 grams per pound of body weight.
You should also eat a solid protein source, either plant or animal based, with each meal.
But getting your protein doesn’t have to mean beef, chicken, or fish. There are a lot of other protein sources you might not know (or forgot) even have protein.
Aren’t sure about the smartest ways to meet your protein needs? Here are some easy ways to get the protein you need and stay as healthy as a horse.
You hear this term a lot, but a lot of people forget about all of the food items it can refer to. Lentils, peanut butter, black beans, refried beans, hummus, garbanzo beans (and every other bean under the sun), adding legumes to your meal is a great way to get your protein. Try adding more beans to all of your food – salads, soups, side dishes. White Northern beans are especially tasty as a meat substitute in pasta dishes.
By keeping a can of almonds at your desk or in your car, you can get protein on the go. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts and cashews, every nut has a good amount of protein. Eating 10 to 20 almonds a day for example has been recommended by doctors for several years now.
Veggies with protein:
There are a number of vegetables out there that have a fair amount of protein. Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, kale and collard greens all have protein. As long as you make your salads with spinach, you already have a good amount of protein going, which is a great thing if you’re a vegetarian.
Ok, this one is obvious, but protein powder is one of the most popular ways to get your protein needs met quickly.
The most commonly available is whey protein powder, but if you are a vegetarian, you can buy soy, hemp, rice or even pea protein powder.
Just one scoop of protein powder can meet a 1/3 of your daily protein need. Put a scoop in your smoothie or hot cereal. It’s also delicious in pancake batter (and even gives it extra thickness).
Protein powder can usually be found at most big box stores in the vitamin aisle.
Just remember the next time you get sick, increase your protein intake right away. It gives your body of fighting chance. After all, why do you think Popeye ate so much spinach?