Whip up high-protein meals easily by choosing foods that cook quickly and selecting recipes that use canned or frozen ingredients. Children need from 2 to 6 1/2 ounces of protein daily, depending on their age and gender, while men and women need 5 to 6 1/2 ounces per day. If you regularly include meat in your meals but want to avoid high-fat, high-cholesterol choices, stick to fish and poultry or choose only the leanest red meats on occasion.
For a quick, high-protein lunch, open a can of tuna or chicken, drain it, and add chopped celery and low-fat mayonnaise to make a salad. To increase the amount of protein, hard-boil an egg or two and slice it into the tuna or chicken mixture. If you prefer a green salad, add your tuna, chicken and sliced eggs to mixed greens, tomatoes, shredded carrots and cucumber slices. Dress it with a light ranch or balsamic dressing.
Eggs are a good source of protein, with one egg containing as much of the nutrient as an ounce of cooked meat or fish. For a quick, high-protein breakfast, cook a two-egg omelet in a little vegetable or olive oil and top it with shredded low-fat cheese. Prepare a nutritious lunch of egg-salad sandwiches, combining hard-boiled eggs with low-fat mayonnaise and a little salt and pepper. Spread the egg salad on whole-grain bread, which also contains protein.
Veggie burgers are easy to prepare and contain protein. Microwave the burgers if you're short on time; grilling is an easy cooking method that will yield more flavor. When you're making spaghetti, chili or other dishes that usually call for ground beef, try the crumbled version of veggie burgers, which is sold in bags in the frozen food section. These products not only cut down on fat and cholesterol, they also reduce cooking time because you can add them right to the sauce or stew.
Fish is an excellent choice of protein if you're looking for an easy-to-prepare food. Put a piece of fresh fish under the broiler and cook each side until the fish flakes with a fork. A small trout yields about 3 ounces of protein-rich food, while a salmon steak provides 4 to 6 ounces. If you're cooking outdoors, it's just as easy to grill fish. Brush on a little butter or butter substitute and add a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of paprika for extra flavor.
Other Easy Foods
Beans are a good source of protein and combine well with a variety of foods. Canned beans make it easy to prepare soups, such as chili or ham and bean. For warm-weather meals, sprinkle canned chickpeas on a salad or make cold kidney bean or three-bean salad. To increase the amount of protein in your meals, add a few walnuts, almonds or other nuts to a salad or on the side, and don't forget that peanut butter is an easy, spreadable, high-protein food. Ground chicken and turkey, formed into patties, cook relatively quickly on a grill or under the broiler, and they provide protein without as much fat and cholesterol as ground beef.
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