Protein Packed Meal Ideas
How to add more protein to your diet.
Lean protein is an important part of any diet. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be quite challenging to take in enough each day to meet your minimum requirements. If you're struggling to get enough, here are a few things you can do to get more throughout the day.
Breakfast provides a lot of opportunities.
Cereals topped with milk are an easy option. Make sure to use fat-free milk and avoid the cereals with more than 6 grams of sugar per serving. A cup of Fiber One Honey Clusters and fat-free milk has 13 grams of protein and nearly half a day's supply of fiber to boot.
Mid-morning Snack is your next opportunity to make a healthy choice. You should eat something every 2-4 hours to keep your metabolism revved up and help avoid a hunger binge. Keep your choices in the 200-400 calorie range.
Put a cup of fat-free cottage cheese in a to-go container and top it with 1/3 cup of blueberries and 1/3 cup strawberries. Store it in the refrigerator and when you eat it, you'll be taking in 186 calories and 22 grams of protein.
Protein bars are a good option here too. Choose ones with 200 calories or less, 5 grams of sugar or less and 10 grams of protein or more. The Detour Lower Sugar bars are tasty and available nationwide or make your own by using our Protein Bar recipes.
Lunch is when your will power is going to be put to the test.
Burgers and fries are everywhere, but they're full of empty calories. Order grilled chicken, skip the sauces and ask for whole wheat bread instead of white. A McDonald's Premium Grilled Chicken Classic has 420 calories, 10 grams of fat and 32 grams of protein. Don't order anything breaded or fried because that can easily double or triple the fat content.
If you're trying to save time and money, bring along a healthy frozen meal. Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, Smart One's and South Beach Diet Frozen Meals all offer reasonable choices. Yes, they're higher in sodium, but if you're keeping your sodium levels down during breakfast and the mid-morning snack, it shouldn't be a problem.
Afternoon Snack Time is an opportunity to get creative.
Sandwiches like tuna fish with fat-free mayo (359 calories and 33 grams of protein) or peanut butter and sugar-free jelly (342 calories and 17 grams of protein) taste delicious. Plus, they give a boost when many people feel their energy levels start to decline.
Soups are good here too. A cup of the homemade split pea soup on my website has 343 calories and a huge 33 grams of protein. Just be careful with the pre-packaged soups, many are extremely high in sodium.
This is also an excellent time to consider a protein shake. They're convenient and will give you that little something extra to get through the day. Avoid shakes that have more than 15 grams of sugar or 5 grams of fat.
Dinner is an ideal time to relax and unwind.
Before I go to work, I often load a crock-pot with healthy meats and vegetables. Then when I get home, the house is filled with the smell of a healthy meal. When you're done, freeze the leftovers in individual serving containers. The crock-pot version of sweet and sour beef on my website has 533 calories and an amazing 65 grams of protein.
If you ate the highest calorie version of everything I suggested, at the end of the day, you would have eaten only 1,884 calories and an incredible 185 grams of protein. Since a healthy diet is considered 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day, you'd still have some calories to spare. There are plenty of opportunities to eat healthy protein; all you have to do is make a plan and follow it.
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