It’s tough enough to get all your meals in a row, much less make those meals exciting and unique. Chicken breast, fish, and other staple protein fare can get a little boring at times. With the lack of variety, it can be hard to want to keep eating the same old proteins.
You need a few ways to add protein to virtually any meal simply and quickly. No special prep needed. Just adding in a few familiar foods can up the protein ante and won’t leave you scoffing at the mere thought of chewing another dry chicken breast.
1. Whey Protein
Possibly the most versatile of the protein allies is whey protein powder. You can add whey to many bodybuilding-friendly foods such as oatmeal, whole wheat pancakes, fat-free sugar-free pudding, and a host of homemade smoothies among others.
Just a quick word of advice: be sure to use either non-flavored or vanilla flavored versions. Oftentimes, strong flavors such as chocolate or cheesecake proteins can conflict with the taste of natural foods, resulting in some interesting concoctions.
1 average, level scoop from a reputable manufacturer normally yields around 20 to 24 grams of protein. Be sure to start small and then add in the rest after you taste-test.
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is not only replete with active cultures to aid in digestion, but also possesses an impressive protein count. Depending on brand, each measured cup can contain up to 12 to 16 grams of the muscle-building material.
Versatile and tasty, Greek yogurt can be added to smoothies, take the place of salad dressings and creams, be used as a tasty snack or replace sour cream, and be added to your oatmeal. As stated with whey protein powder above, be sure to use either plain or vanilla Greek yogurt to avoid flavor collisions.
3. Chia Seeds
Popular as of late, chia seeds are an extremely versatile addition to many meals. Mostly tasteless and slightly nutty in texture, chia seeds can be added to virtually anything including yogurt, oatmeal, salads, chicken, ground meat, and fish.
Boasting an impressive 8 grams of protein per 2 ounces, these wonder seeds are one convenient addition to up any meal on the protein scale. A bonus benefit is its high fiber and healthy fat content.
The bean is a long forgotten choice in the quest for more muscle. Normally looked at for their high fiber content, beans are also relatively high in protein. Combined with other carbohydrates such as rice, they help make up a complete protein without eating a stitch of meat.
Garbonzo, pinto, black, and red beans are just a few choices you can easily add to salads, rice plates, pasta salads, or as their own solo side dish. A ½ cup can provide around 20 grams of quality protein.
5. Cottage Cheese
Much like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese is another great muscle-building food worth another look. Try it topping off whole wheat pasta, combined with fruit, or added to pancakes or other baked goods.
Low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese contains the much sought-after casein protein. Casein is a slow digesting protein providing you with a steady flow of amino acids instead of the fast-acting processes of whey. 1 cup can kick in 25 grams of protein along with a healthy dose of vitamin D.
What more can be said about eggs? High in quality protein, easy to prep, and void of carbs, eggs are arguably one of the perfect protein foods.
They can also serve as trusty protein additions to several foods. For example, hardboiled eggs can be chopped and topped over a salad, over easy on whole wheat bread or with avocado, and scrambled in rice. Of course eggs by themselves make excellent portable protein snacks. A single, whole egg contains 6 grams of protein.
Convenient, portable, tasty, nutritious, and versatile are just a few terms used to describe the abundant advantages of nuts. Normally looked at as a great source of healthy fats, nuts are also packed with a good bit of protein for their serving size. With most varieties giving you around 6 grams of protein per ounce, nuts can be added to many healthy dishes. Oatmeal, salads, encrusted on fish, smoothies, and added to yogurt are just a few ways to up the protein. Walnuts, almonds, peanuts and pistachios are just a few to choose from.