The Best Sources For Protein
If you already eat a healthy diet, with a diversity of fruits, vegetables, beans, and healthy meats, chances are you already are consuming the perfect amount of protein. To achieve the weight loss results related to high-protein diets, however, a little more effort may need to be made in order to boost your intake from 15% to 25%. The following foods and tips are all great ways to increase protein consumption and overall health. Don’t forget, protein should never come at the expense of vegetables and fruits!
1. Don’t skip the salad! A healthy salad may not sound like a good way to increase protein intake, but all the components of a large salad added together will supply more than you may think, while keeping calories low and filling you up. One large salad, including a small amount of nuts and seeds, will supply 10-12 grams of protein in less than 200 calories. The more lettuce, spinach, and mushrooms you add, the greater the protein gain will be!
2. Eat at least one cup of beans per day. Beans have enormous amounts of protein for a plant-based food. Even better, beans (including peas and lentils) are extremely high in lysine, the one amino acid most likely to be missing from a vegetarian diet. Beans are also very high in fiber and slow-digesting carbohydrates, helping you stay full for longer.
3. If you eat meat, make sure you find grass-fed or pastured meat. Meat is a great concentrated source of protein, but if you eat grain-fed meats, they’re also a great source of concentrated fat. Even worse, grain-fed meat is higher in bad fats like omega-6s and saturated fat, and the fat is predominantly intramuscular, meaning it’s integrated into the muscle of the meat and you can’t cut it off. Remember the grain-fed ribeye steak from the lists above? 35% protein means the cut is also 65% fat. Compare that to a grass-fed ribeye steak which has 57% protein and 43% fat.
Grass-fed meat is also higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be hard to get enough of in the diet. Furthermore, the concentration of two specific fats, called “conjugated linoleic acid” (CLA) and “trans vaccenic acid” (TVA) are much higher in grass-fed animal products. Studies have shown that CLA and TVA, which is converted in our body into CLA, increase the rate of fat metabolism in our body, allowing us to burn more fat as energy and store less.
Overall, eating grass-fed meats is a good way to increase protein intake while still limiting fat intake, and may carry additional health benefits with it as well. A great bonus is the richer flavor pastured meats of all types have, which make their grain-fed counterparts taste downright bland!
4. Plant-based protein shakes that are designed for weight loss (as opposed to body-building) can be healthy and useful if you are looking to lose weight.