Early out we can’t eat much (and some of us not even further out). Getting protein is hard. The stuff is filling!
So how DO you sneak protein into foods you are already eating without adding a bunch of volume? Here are some tips for newbies and veterans alike!
Tip #1: Go Greek
Yes, yes, I know some of you HATE Greek yogurt because of its tart flavor. But in dishes and desserts that call for sour cream (like any of my cheesecake recipes) it works great! It also tops Mexican dishes well and I’ve found I can sub up to half the mayo (lowfat or regular, your choice) in a recipe with Greek yogurt without it tasting too different (and non-ops never notice). So go Greek! Lots more protein in that yogurt than in mayo or sour cream!
Tip #2: If you do the starch thing…chew the right thing!
Not all starches are created equally. Some give you a lot of processed carbs, but there are some options that manage to give you lots of protein. There are super-high protein breads like P-28 (read my thoughts on the stuff here before trying that). But there’s also things like Flat-Out Wraps that are about 100 calories and 9g of protein (with 8g net carbs)! Quinoa is also a good choice for a protein/carb combo. While quinoa is primarily and predominantly a source of carbs it has a good deal of protein in it for a starch and it is a complete protein (meaning it contains all the amino acids). Click here to learn how to cook it.
Not everyone does the starch thing but if you do, make sure to choose starches that give back!
Tip #3: Sometimes you have to find your own whey…
Or soy…or casein…protein powder is NOT just for protein shakes! Unflavored protein is worth its weight in GOLD. I put it in everything from desserts to side dishes to soups. The kind I use gives you an extra 17g of protein per scoop without adding any significant volume to your food (and it is instantized for cooking which means it won’t curdle on you)! The protein does tend to make things more filling, though, so decide for yourself how much to use in a meal serving.
Tip #4: Amp up your indulgences
Early out I had this rule. Dessert HAD to be protein dessert or it was no dessert at all. That’s just how I had to roll. You may not have this rule for yourself but still there’s room to make your indulgences protein forward. On this very blog, there are recipes for everything from cheesecakes, to popsicles, cupcakes…oh my!
Point is that you can learn to make your indulgences work to get you to your protein goals!
Tip #5: Get the most bang for your protein buck
Choose foods with high protein numbers for low volumes. These include Greek yogurt (typically 10g protein per 4 oz.), cottage cheese (14g/4 oz.), tuna (10g/2 oz.). There are even specialty snacks that give you a high protein return, like Ostrim Jerky (60 cals, 10g protein and it’s literally the size of a small pencil!).
The point here is that when you need protein but have great restriction you HAVE to pay attention to the protein per ounce. Choose foods that rate highly and you’re that much closer to meeting your goals!
So there you have it. Five solid suggestions for sneaking more protein into your eating day. What tips do you have? Share them in the comments!