By: Kayla Adams
There are many things your body can do without, but protein is not one of them! Protein provides your body with what it needs so your muscles, skin, organs, & hormones function properly, but not all of us get enough of it. So, we’ve got a few easy, sneaky ways to help add protein to your diet!
3 Sneaky Ways to Add Protein to Your Diet
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight & an easy way to roughly calculate your daily protein intake is to multiply your weight in pounds by .36. This is the bare minimum protein needed to meet your body’s basic nutritional need but there’s more to focus on than simply hitting that target. Your focus should also be ensuring that you make a conscious effort to eat healthier protein-rich foods. If there was one big takeaway from 2019, it’s that not all food is equal & the quality of your calories matter!
But, what if you can stomach eating tuna and turkey every now and then, but eating them on a regular basis isn’t your cup of tea? That’s perfectly fine, as long as you’ve got other ways to provide your body with sufficient protein for wellness, muscle building, or weight loss – whatever your goals may be.
Drink a Protein Shake
Protein shakes are not a way to sneak more protein into your diet, but also an amazing alternative to sugary store-bought smoothies that contain little-to-no protein! Whey, soy, and pea protein are among the most popular, although studies have shown that whey keeps your body full for longer periods of time. If your body can handle milk and milk products without a problem, that’s easily your best route.
- 8 oz (225 grams) unsweetened almond milk.
- 1 serving of TLS® Whey Protein – Vanilla
- 1 cup fresh berries.
- 1/2 cup crushed ice.
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Substitute Rice or Pasta with Quinoa
Quinoa is an incredible and underused source of plant-based protein. Unlike many plant-based sources, quinoa is a complete protein because it contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs. Even better, the seed alone contains about 8 grams of protein per cup! Quinoa can also be added to soups, salads, and even sweet treats like muffins and waffles if you’re feeling adventurous!
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/3 pound shrimp, peeled & deveined
- 1 cup snow peas chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1 large bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 T soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, optional
- Spray a pan over medium heat with non-stick cooking spray.
- Add eggs and swirl until the bottom of the pan is covered, then cook until the edges begin to peel of the pan, about 1 – 2 minutes.
- Flip, cooking for 1 minute longer, then transfer to a cutting board and cut into bite sized pieces.
- Let cool.
- Return the pan to the stove and add the vegetables and garlic.
- Add a splash of water, toss, then continue to cook until the vegetables have softened, adding water as needed, 5 – 6 minutes.
- While the veggies are cooking, heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.
- Spray with non-stick cooking spray (or water) and add the shrimp, cooking 2 – 3 minutes per side until cooked through.
- Add the shrimp & quinoa to the vegetables and toss to combine. Stir in the soy sauce, spices and chili sauce and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add the egg and stir to combine.
Eat More Whole Grains
When given the option of multigrain, basic white, or whole wheat options, whole grain is the best selection for optimum protein intake. Just one cup of cooked whole grains provides between 6-20% of your RDA! ou can opt for whole grains in your rice, oatmeal, bread, pasta, and crackers when you do have them, and it will add another layer of nutrition to your food. Higher in fiber & nutrients, whole grains are also a quick & easy swap to sneak a little extra protein into your diet.
for the pasta
- 8 ounces sprouted whole-grain penne pasta
- 2 T light butter or a heart-healthy oil
- 16 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
- salt, pepper, and fresh parsley for topping
for the walnut pesto
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups packed greens (spinach, basil, parsley, anything you like – but keep some basil for a more traditional pesto flavor)
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the penne pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Toast the walnuts in a small sauté pan over low heat with no butter or oil – stir and shake the pan until the walnuts are fragrant and toasty (about 5 minutes).
- In a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the walnut pesto and pulse until mostly smooth, adding water or oil as necessary.
- Heat the butter over medium heat in a wide skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 8-10 minutes, until the mushrooms are a deep golden brown. Add the penne pasta to the pan and stir to combine, adding Parmesan, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley or other herbs to taste.
- Divide the pasta between 4-6 bowls and top with a generous spoonful of the walnut pesto OR stir the walnut pesto directly into the pasta.
These are a few great ways to add protein to your diet without having to make any extreme lifestyle changes. Enjoy!