Not just for building muscles, protein foods are important to include in our diets every day.
Protein is found in every cell in our body. In fact your hair and nails are mostly made up of protein. It also helps to keep us full because it takes time for the body to break down protein.
What Foods Have Protein?
Protein foods can be animal based as well as plant based. But remember, animal based foods contain saturated fat, which we want to limit in a healthy diet (the exception is fish which contains healthy UNsaturated fat).
* Choose lean meats, fish, or plant based protein MORE often!
Examples of Animal Protein:
- Meats and Poultry: pork, beef, chicken, eggs are types of meat based protein
- Dairy: yogurts, cheese, and milk are sources of protein that come from animals
- Fish and Seafood (Remember these contain UNsaturated fats)
Examples of Plant Protein:
- Soy Foods: tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk
- Nuts and Seeds: almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews
- Beans, Peas, and Lentils: chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, split peas
So Wait, How Much Protein Do I Need?
You should try and include protein in all of your meals and most snacks.
1 serving of protein is:
- 1/4 cup nuts (or a handful)
- 3 oz meat or fish (or the size of your palm)
- 2 tablespoons nut/seed butters (enough to spread on 1 slice of toast)
- 1/2 cup of beans, peas or lentils (or about half of your fist)
- 1 cup of yogurt (or the size of your fist)
- 2 eggs
Try Out These Protein Packed Snacks
Check out our How To: Snack for Energy article for a list of easy proteins to add to your snacks!