Sunday, February 19, 2012

The best sources for protein -- lean and nutritious

Ever since I started working out with a personal trainer a few months ago, I've been a lot more conscious of reducing starchy foods (pasta, potatoes, bread, and rice) and upping the amount of protein I eat every day.
Yes, I often supplement food sources with a helping of low fat protein powder dissolved in water, but here are a few really great ways to enjoy protein on a daily basis. 
(In no special order)
Yogurt (especially Greek) -- buy nonfat or low-fat plain, add vanilla flavoring and a no-cal sweetener if you want. I have it for breakfast with berries, half a banana, chopped walnuts and a couple tablespoons of granola for crunch. It's become my favorite breakfast.
Almond butter -- almonds are so much more nutritious than peanuts, and while like most folks I love (chunky, unsalted) peanut butter, almond butter is a better choice. Spread it on apple slices or celery sticks to avoid the starchy bread or crackers that we tend to put our nut butters on.
Quinoa -- instead of rice, couscous or pasta, this grain is a great source of protein, and it's just as satisfying to the soul as those other, starchier grain products.
Eggs (especially organic) -- the ultimate fast food because they cook in no time. I don't bother with them for breakfast but at lunch I enjoy a couple of eggs scrambled with cooked veggies, perhaps some leftover chicken or salmon, and a sprinkle of cheese. A quick fritatta or omelet also makes a nutritious supper.
Wild salmon and other wild (not farmed) fish -- we eat fish for dinner at least three times a week. It cooks very fast (like eggs) in a frying pan with just a bit of oil. One of our go-to meals.
Organic Chicken and Grass-Fed Beef -- one of my healthy-foodie rules is "no supermarket or fast-food meat," if only because I am offended by the inhumane treatment of animals by our industrial food system. We don't eat beef of any kind very often, to tell you the truth, and prefer ground bison (buffalo) in chili, sauces and as burgers. 
Hummus -- made from protein-rich chickpeas (garbanzo beans), I like the chipotle flavored kind by Trader Joe's, and also the Luscious Lemon of another brand. To avoid a starchy bed for this spread, I have it with carrots and celery, usually.

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