Protein is found in each and every muscle, cell and tissue of our bodies. We need protein to repair, grow and maintain all of our cells. Almost every process in our bodies requires protein. It’s a major component of all of our tissues, organs and muscles. We also need protein to produce the antibodies that fight infection and illness. It makes our nails strong, our bones strong and our hair shiny.
Protein is very important, folks.
So what do you do if you want to eat more protein without adding more meat to your diet? Luckily for those of us with children who aren’t fans of meat and for vegetarians, there are many foods rich in protein that never once mooed, quacked or oinked. Note: Not all of these forms of protein are paleo-friendly, but hey, not everyone has hopped aboard the paleo train just yet!
Avocado. Not only is avocado high in protein but it’s also a great source of fiber. It also provides omega 6 essential fats and omega 3s as well. 15 avocados equal the amount of protein you’d get from one chicken breast.
Quinoa. Quinoa has been around forever. It’s often eaten as a starch, in place of rice or couscous, but quinoa is actually more of a seed than it is a grain. It’s also extremely high in protein and unlike other grains it’s a complete protein.
Peas. Peas are high in Vitamins K and C, fiber and other minerals in addition to being a good source of protein. Peas aren’t a complete protein, though, so eat them with quinoa or cheese to get lots of amino acids into you.
Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and it’s a good way to sneak in some calcium, too. Just make sure you buy the plain variety and read your labels to make sure you choose a brand that’s not too high in sugar.
Chick peas. Chick peas are 23% protein and they aren’t expensive. Buy organic chick peas and eat them as an alternative to meat.
Peanut butter. Peanut butter is 28% protein. Peanuts also contain a heart-healthy antioxidant called resveratrol which is the same component that makes red wine good for us.
Coconut. Coconut is another complete protein and it’s also high in fiber. It’s a tad high in fat, but it is a medium chain triglyceride and your body uses it as energy immediately rather than storing it. So don’t be afraid of it! That doesn’t mean you should drink it by the cupful, but don’t be afraid to incorporate this and other healthy fats into your diet.
Brown rice. Brown rice is low on the glycemic index, it’s rich in minerals and high in fiber. It’s also a good source of protein.
Do you have any other foods to add to this list?