I’m always trying to pack as much protein as possibly into my diet, and because my lifestyle is always “on-the-go,” I need quick, easy-to-fix, simple choices. Listed below are my top seven favorite protein go to’s:
- Cottage Cheese: I sometimes have to stop myself from eating an entire container each day. I love, love, love cottage cheese, and I have been eating it my entire life. I mix it with anything from nuts and cinnamon to fruit and chocolate. I add it to tuna salads, I’ve made deviled eggs with it, you name it. Cottage cheese usually packs 11 grams of protein per serving and I always try to buy the organic version to steer clear of added hormones, etc. Horizon makes a great organic product!
- Whey Protein Powder: Whey can be added to anything: smoothies, shakes, oats, yogurt, the list is endless. I typically have a little bit of whey and almond milk with my superfood antioxidant blend each day. I use whey in my post-workout shakes. I add whey to eggs and make awesome protein pancakes. Simply be creative: whatever you’re cooking, just throw in some whey powder! And though I’ve probably used up to 20+ different kinds of whey over the years–including egg white powder from GNC–my favorite kind to use is Dymatize: ISO-100 from muscleandstrength.com.
- Eggs: What more can I say here? Scrambled, fried, whole eggs, egg whites, hard boiled, cheese and salsa-covered, omelet, frittata, the list goes on and on. My favorite type of egg is a good ol’ fashioned fried egg, covered in a little bit of cheese, and a side of bacon. Sometimes when I need a “lighter” dish I’ll cook up some eggs with spinach and mushrooms, and other times I’ll grab a hard boiled egg or two when I’m on the go. Regardless, you can’t really go wrong with eggs. And don’t worry about the yolk–studies show that it isn’t at all bad for you or your cholesterol.
- Ground Turkey: I love both ground beef and turkey. I usually pick turkey over beef just for the higher protein content. And you can make so many dishes out of both: stews, chilis, tomato-based sauces, tacos, whatever really. All you need is a pan and ideas. My favorite is to use low sodium taco seasoning with my turkey and then add the mixture to a nice sized salad topped with cheese and fresh salsa. Another favorite of mine is to add a few cans of diced tomatoes to the meat, stir in peppers, onions, mushrooms, some pepperoni, a few spices and herbs, and you’ve got a nice meaty spaghetti-style sauce to throw over a bowl of steamed cauliflower–or your veggies of choice. Low carb, high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants–makes my night!
- Tuna cans/cups: It seems a little boring but I love tuna. The little tuna cups you can get at any grocery store and even some convenient stations are great for traveling, and they pack about 18 grams of tuna and zero carbs per serving. I eat them plain, on top of salads, with mustard, on a wheat wrap…again simplicity and versatility work for me. It may not be exciting, but I’m fine with that.
- Frozen Fish: I know, you’re thinking that this post is getting weirder and weirder. But hear me out: you can now buy single serving packs of tilapia, salmon, and mahi-mahi. All you do is put them on a plate, cover, and microwave on a low to medium setting. Honestly it’s pretty amazing. Unless I forget to change my power setting, the fish comes out perfectly cooked, steaming, and flaky. I usually add some lemon-pepper seasoning, a side of veggies, and I’m good to go. Oh and if you do forget to lower the power settings, you’ll realize it when you hear a popping sound in the microwave. No worries–it’s just the fish exploding. Guaranteed to happen at least once. 😉
- Cheese sticks and almonds: The quickest grab-and-go snack that I usually reach for when I’m in a big hurry is more of a “fatty” choice but protein is a major macro, no doubt. Most cheese sticks have around 8 grams of protein and a serving of almonds about 7–so that’s at least 15 grams in just one out-the-door handful. Not too shabby! I like to buy plain almonds in bulk at Martin’s Grocery, and Horizon makes great organic cheese sticks. What’s not to love?
Now hit the grocery store and stock up! No more “I can’t reach my protein macros” excuses!