Boost That Protein (Without Buying a Cow)
Thankfully, the "low-carb everything" trend of about 10 years ago seems to have fallen by the wayside. However, there is more and more evidence that restricting carbhydrates and boosting protein intake can have all kinds of health benefits. A study published in the Journal of The American Medical Association this past summer found that people who followed low carb diets burned more calories and kept weight off longer than people who followed a high-carb, low-fat diet.
And, anecdotally, I decided this summer to boost my protein intake and lost five pounds without even trying, which is nothing short of miraculous. More to the point, I had more energy, my skin improved, and I did not get the wicked midafternoon sugar cravings that tend to be my downfall in eating more healthfully.
Here's the problem: I don't like meat, particularly. So I have had to figure out ways to get enough protein without carrying around beef jerky everywhere I go. Here's what helped:
Start with breakfast. I love muffins and pancakes as much as the next person (probably more) but a cup of Greek yogurt, natural (no-sugar) peanut butter on whole-grain toast or some scrambled eggs gets me through the morning without needing to snack until lunch.
Have protein-rich snacks ready. I love string cheese, nuts (especially almonds), hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, vegetables dipped into hummus...the list of energy-boosting protein foods is long. And if you just can't stand the thought of giving up a sweet treat, those protein energy bars make a good stand-in for candy and are a lot less likely to cause a massive sugar crash.
Find tastier alternatives to boneless, skinless chicken breasts...although they're still good! Turkey or chicken sausage, top sirloin, flank steak, pork tenderloin or loin chops and fish of all types are all favorites of mine. I actually cook up extra chicken sausage and keep it wrapped in foil in the fridge for quick snacks. And I like to go vegetarian a couple of days a week, so black bean tacos or vegetarian chili deliver a delicious dose of protein and fiber.
What's your favorite protein-rich snack?