Proteins Beyond Red Meat
To keep a high-protein diet on the healthy side, be careful when you choose the types of protein to add to your meals. A balanced diet with healthy, high protein foods rather than high-fat ones is important, whether you want to lose weight with the diet, are a body builder or athlete in training, are significantly underweight or are an older adult worried about the loss of muscle mass.
A typical bacon and egg breakfast isn't the only way to get lots of protein in the morning. Supplement your egg breakfast with a smoothie made with milk, soy milk or added protein powder. Or go the cereal route with high protein quinoa, bulgar wheat or rolled oats, with a handful of toasted walnuts or almonds and another handful of dried fruit to balance the protein in the cereal and nuts.
Traditional lunch choices can be high protein options as well. Go with a fish fillet, hamburger or chicken breast paired with a salad, or transform your salad into a meal by shredding the fish or chicken into the dish. Just a few tablespoons of pumpkin or sunflower seeds add crunch and more protein to the salad. Keep a supply of cooked lentils and canned beans on hand to toss into either salads or soups for extra protein, or make a whole grain salad with the lentil or with high protein quinoa or bulgar wheat. Go for a traditional lunch with a tuna, salmon or peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread, accompanied by a glass of milk or a soy milk-based smoothie.
Afternoon snacks can be as simple as a handful of nuts or a glass of chocolate milk. Make other snacks ahead of time, and keep them in your pantry or fridge. Some ideas include:
- Beef or salmon jerky
- Protein bars
- Peanut butter on whole wheat crackers, apple slices or celery sticks
- Protein shakes
- Cottage cheese
- Hard boiled eggs.
What you don't want to do on a high protein diet is restrict your intake of other nutrients your body needs for good health, particularly healthy carbohydrates. You may not get enough fiber without enough carbohydrates, leading to headaches, constipation, bad breath or even kidney disease. Too much red meat and full-fat dairy products may also cause problems with weight gain or heart disease.
- Utah State University; What is Protein?; Georgia C. Lauritzen; 1992
- All Health Site: High Protein Breakfast Foods
- Fox News; 9 Best High-Protein Snacks; Sabrina Rogers; April 2011
- Prevention: 4 Types of People Who Should Be on a High-Protein Diet
- Mayo Clinic: Nutrition and Healthy Eating
- Oldways Whole Grains Council: Whole Grain Protein Power!
- One Green Planet: Top 5 Seeds to Pair With Greens for a High Protein Meal