Protein is among the three macronutrients and is an integral part of a healthy diet. Proteins keep the muscles healthy and prolong the feeling of fullness after a meal.
Without sufficient protein, the body will not be able to secrete enzymes and hormones necessary for growth, reproduction, metabolism, regulation of blood sugar, and so much more.
In addition without enough protein, the health of our hair, nails, and blood may suffer.
For many dieters, protein is important because it helps build muscles for bulking. If you have more muscles, your body has more capacity to burn fat, making your metabolism faster. This way you shed more pounds.
Proteins can be animal based or plant based. Unless you have dietary restrictions, ideally you should have protein from both plant and animal sources.
If you are a vegan, you need not worry as there are plant based proteins that are considered complete, meaning they have all the essential amino acids required by the body.
When it comes to healthy proteins, here are some of the best sources.
This fish can be prepared and seasoned simply with salt and pepper then grilled. It can also be made into an expensive looking dish by seasoning it with garlic, herbs, and cheese then baking it.
Salmon is rich in good fats and can be enjoyed as is, with rice, with potatoes, or with roasted veggies on the side. Smoked salmon can be topped on toast, tossed in salads, and eaten with wheat crackers.
Cooked salmon can also be whipped into a creamy consistency and be used as a dip and spread.
Very low in calories per serving, scallops have a tender white meat that is great seared. This is recommended for weight watchers who want to have a rich protein source that is light yet tasty.
A combo of good fats and protein that you can eat when on a diet is peanut butter.
Because of its rich peanut flavor, this is very fulfilling and can stop cravings for both salty and sweet foods.
A recommended post workout snack is sliced apple dipped in peanut butter, while a peanut butter on toast is a decent breakfast.
Peanut butter, when consumed in moderation, should not make you gain weight.
This humble spread can be used in stews, added to marinades, and added to smoothies and oats.
If you are craving for steak but are watching your weight, you can have a healthy sirloin steak.
This is a lean kind of meat that is so versatile. You can grill it, fry, stir fry, and use it as a main ingredient in a sandwich or wrap.
It can also be sliced thinly and added to noodles, soups, and salads. You can fry it simply in butter and just season with a squeeze of lemon, salt, and pepper.
If you don’t have dairy issues, it is nice to include a healthy dairy such as cottage cheese as your protein source. Unlike other cheeses, this has less sodium and fat.
Low in fat, inexpensive, and readily available practically all year round, this protein is number 1 in a seasoned dieter’s staple.
Chicken breast can be grilled, baked, fried, steamed, and even boiled. Because it has very little flavor, it needs to be seasoned well.
You can chop cooked chicken breast and include it in your soups and salads. It can also be used as a pizza topping.
For a vegan protein source, you can’t go wrong with chia. This has 5 grams of protein per tablespoon.
Another great plant protein, young green soybeans or edamame has about 8 grams of amazing protein in half a cup. This is great as a salad.
This may seem unappetizing because of its color but is actually a great source of protein. Spirulina gives you 80% of your daily iron needs and has 4 grams of protein in a tablespoon. Don’t underestimate this as it is a complete protein.
Add it to your smoothies for a healthier drink.
A good dairy substitute, soy milk is a good drink after a tiring day as it restores energy and provides your body with nutrients with not that many calories.
For a 100 gram serving, it provides you with more than 3 grams of plant-based protein.
Made from fermented soy, tofu is a versatile plant protein that can be used both in savory and sweet food.
It can be fried at a very high heat so it becomes crispy then dipped in a mixture of soy sauce and lemon juice. Tofu can also be used in puddings, burgers, and smoothies.
Because it is bland, tofu needs to be well seasoned or marinated before cooking. It can be grilled, stir fried, and even baked. Tofu can also replace meat in curry dishes.