As one of three macronutrients, protein literally forms the building blocks of our bodies. Some of its roles include creating and repairing tissues, boosting energy, regulating hormones, and safeguarding a strong immune system by warding off illness and disease. But for some of you, it can be tough to get more protein in your diet.
With so many vital roles to play, finding easy and stress-free ways to get more protein in your diet can be key.
21 Ways to Get More Protein in Your Diet Daily
- Flavour your meals with hummus: delightful on salads, in stir-fries (as the base of the sauce), as a drizzle over soups, or the classic combo dipped with raw carrots, cucumber or other veggies.
- Use unsweetened nut butter as a spread on tortillas, salad wraps or sandwiches in place of butter or margarine.
- Try mixing hemp hearts, which are a complete plant-based protein, into smoothies and other beverages. I am quite partial to my favourite delicious, nutritious, dairy-free Matcha Tea Latte.
- Mix grass-fed collagen powder into your full-fat coconut, almond or other dairy-free yogurt.
- Top your salad or smoothie bowl with chopped nuts or seeds of your choice.
- Supplement your regular menu rotation with fresh or plain canned fish. Sardines, mackerel, salmon, herring and anchovies are superstars when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids and easy-to-digest protein.
- Keep homemade trail mix in your desk at the office. I recommend one that is heavier on the nuts with limited dried fruit, especially if you struggle to fend off sugar cravings.
- Love lentils! They come in all colours and can be used in everything from your main meal to snacks, breakfast or dessert. Try them in this salad or this no-meat “meat” loaf. You can even use them in baked goods – like these butternut squash and lentil muffins.
- Experiment with pizza crust made of veggies and almond flour or another nut-based flour. These can be a protein-packed alternative to standard gluten-free pizza crusts (which are often starch-based). Get a tutorial about how to make healthy pizza here.
- Whip ripe avocados up into chocolate pudding. At about 3-4 grams of protein per avo, they make for a tasty healthy snack or dessert.
- Throw some hard-boiled eggs on your lunch salad. (Top tip: my favourite way to cook “hardboiled” eggs is not by boiling at all, but by steaming!)
- Replace your rice with quinoa, another complete plant-based protein.
- Stick with the standards: grass-fed beef, or pastured chicken or turkey are always high-protein options but instead of eating them plain, try wrapping them up! Lettuce or high-protein wraps made from nuts, seeds or legumes can supply easy-to-digest protein PLUS extra vegetables (with all-important micro- and phytonutrients). You can also serve them in one of these 6 gluten-free alternatives to bread.
- Enjoy edamame in salads, soups and snacks. Like hemp and quinoa, it’s a complete protein and it provides 18-22 grams of protein per cup.
- Add homemade fermented nut or seed cheese to anything and everything! Seriously, if you are dairy-free (and even if you’re not, but you just want to try something new), nut cheese will become your new BFF. It’s SO good.
- Enjoy chia seeds in puddings or parfaits. The possibilities are endless because these protein-rich seeds take to any flavours you can throw at them.
- Toss your home-popped popcorn with nutritional yeast, a cheesy substitute for dairy that offers an impressive 8-10 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons.
- Blend plain unsweetened protein powder into soups, smoothies, granola bars or even iced coffee. Both plant-based (vegetarian or vegan) and animal-based powders can offer usable and versatile protein.
- Sneak spirulina into your smoothies. Although for some it has an acquired taste, at more than 60% protein for its weight, spirulina offers an impressive range of vitamins and minerals, along with its valuable plant-based protein.
- Replace store-bought chips or crackers with roasted chickpeas. They are also stellar on salads, soups and stews!
- And lastly, consider how you might pack protein into every snack, meal or flavour-boosting dressing – even sauces! This cashew ketchup is packed with flavour and like a little black dress, it goes well with just about everything. And you’ll want to dollop this Maple Tahini Drizzle on your meals with abandon.
How do you sneak extra protein into your day?
Header Image: iStock/nata_vkusidey