Protein is one of the most important building blocks of the human body. Protein is essential to a healthy heart and a healthy body and plays an important role in carrying cholesterol and preventing heart disease. The body has the ability to make its own “building blocks” out of whatever amino acids are on hand. However, there is one important limitation—some of those amino acids are only available in food. These raw materials must all be present to build the body properly; if they are not, the body, like a building made with shoddy materials, will not stand up over time.
We give you 5 easy ways to sneak protein in every meal of the day!
1- Add Nuts and Seeds to your Breakfast Cereal or Salad
Nuts have a ton of protein naturally, and they taste amazing! Sprinkle some toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds on your favourite cereal in the morning or in your salads. Munch on peanuts or pistachios when you want a mid morning snack instead of reaching for that bag of potato chips.
2- Make the good old Dahi a part of your daily meal
Indians have always had a soft soft for dahi, the Indian yoghurt —be it the curd-rice-eating South Indian, the lassi-drinking North Indian or the doi-loving Bengali. The good news is that dahi has pretty much everything going for it. It is a good source of essential carbohydrates and packs a punch of protein. A cup of plain, low-fat yogurt contains 154 calories, with 13 grams of protein, 3.8 grams of fat and 17 grams of carbohydrates. The glycemic index of plain, low-fat yogurt is just 14, which is very low.
Consuming yoghurt 4 to 5 times a week is a healthy way to get the calcium that the body needs, especially for the people who cannot tolerate most other dairy products. For an extra shot of protein, toss in some chopped walnuts or almonds.
3- Swap the butter on your Toast with Peanut Butter
Butter is a beloved ingredient that plays a starring role in some of our favorite recipes. But did you know that the fat found in butter is mostly the saturated variety – the kind that clogs arteries and raises LDL (bad) cholesterol, a contributing factor in heart disease.
A delicious alternative to buttering your toast is peanut butter. At around 50 per cent less fat, peanut butter makes a great substitute for regular butter and adds a bonus of protein as well. Not only does it taste great when spread on bread and toast, it offers up heart-healthy fats, potassium, and fiber – unlike butter, which can boast very few nutritional benefits.
4- Replace Rice with Quinoa
Quinoa (pronounced like KEEN-wa) has been the staple food of the Central Americans for centuries and is known for its high protein content, and with good reason. The seed (yes, it’s technically a seed—not a grain) contains eight grams of protein per cup. Plus, it’s considered a complete protein, meaning it packs all nine essential amino acids your body needs. A cup of brown rice (not white rice, mind you!) has 5 grams of proteins, and a cup of quinoa has more than 50% protein with 8.1 grams per cup.
Also, Quinoa is relatively low in calories. One serving of cooked quinoa contains approximately 172 calories compared to 205 calories in one serving of cooked white rice, which is a staple in most Indian homes.
5- Find a Protein Powder you actually like
Most of the protein powders in the market today either taste bland or have the texture of chalk. Healthy = Disgusting Taste? No way! We love the Nutriplus Protein Power with soy protein isolate, which turns all of your smoothies into a thick, milkshake-esque treat. Remember to always blend it up as part of a smoothie; protein powders ALWAYS tastes better in a blended shake than just shaken up with water!