Tips For Getting More Protein In Your Diet
Most bariatric surgeons suggest at least 75-90 grams of protein a day to help with successful weight loss. This aids in healthy weight loss losing fat and keeping and developing muscle. Protein also assists with healing after your surgery, to prevent any hair loss.
Protein is an important nutrient vital to cell growth and development in the human body, provides important amino acids, and can also help ward off bodily infections. Adding protein to your diet can also benefit your overall health and metabolism, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
But let’s face it, we all need a break. If you’re like me, you get bored with the foods that you eat. I tend to eat the same old foods each day. BORING! I don’t know how to branch out and add other healthy forms of protein. So… Below is a list of some suggestions that you can try to add or increase protein into your daily diet. I also provided you with a breakdown of a variety of foods and the protein grams associated. I’d love to hear ideas of what you eat!
- Eat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has half the calories and twice the protein of traditional yogurt, thus making it a great choice.
- Add protein powder to other foods. If you add a scoop or two of protein powder to other foods – like oatmeal, muffins or pancakes – you’ll get the protein you need but without the nasty taste. Just make sure you use a protein flavor (like vanilla) that works with the food’s flavor.
- Stock up on cottage cheese. Love it or hate it, cottage cheese is another rich source of protein. In fact, 1 cup contains a whopping 28 grams. Mix in some fruit and sprinkle some almonds on top, and you are good to go!
- Consume lean meats. Chicken, turkey and other lean meats are a great way to get more protein. (See protein breakdown below.)
- Start you day with eggs. As eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, they haven’t received nearly the amount of love that they deserve. There is a difference between dietary and blood cholesterol, and most people can enjoy eggs without seeing blood cholesterol spikes. If you’re concerned, opt for egg whites – but know that much of the egg’s 6.5 grams of protein are contained in the yolk.
- Protein-ify your salad. There are a ton of great ways to up the protein content of any salad. I love sprinkling sunflower seeds or nuts on my salads. Chickpeas are also a good source of protein. Or, top the salad with a hard-boiled egg or chicken.
- Snack on nuts and nut butters. Two tablespoons of peanut butter have 8 grams of protein; one-fourth cup of unsalted peanuts has 7 grams. Find ways to incorporate nuts into your snacks (i.e., peanut butter and bananas, trail mix, etc.). (See list of nuts and protein grams below.)
- Eat fish. Fish can be an extremely healthy addition to your diet – and many of us don’t eat enough. Just six ounces of tuna has 40 (yes, 40!) grams of protein. Bake it, broil it, grill it – or consume it raw (if it’s Sushi-grade). (See protein breakdown below.)
- Get more plant-based protein sources. Though many people don’t realize it, plants and veggies can be a great source or protein. Beans, barley, brown rice, broccoli, artichoke, onions, potatoes, spinach, etc., are all good choices.
- Whey Protein Crunchies! Mix them in oatmeal, cereal, or greek yogurt. A 1/4 of a cup has 12 grams of protein. The flavor is natural so there isn’t really a taste, but it adds a nice crunch.
- Ricotta Cheese. Add protein powder (vanilla or unflavored) in to your ricotta cheese to increase the protein grams. You can also make a healthy lasagna that uses zucchini instead of noodles, ricotta, meat and marinara sauce for a delicious healthy meal.
- Protein Bars are a great way to grab a protein snack on the go. Rule of thumb (provided by my nutritionist). Protein bar should not exceed 210 calories, should have less than 4 grams of sugar, exceed 12 grams of protein and be low carbohydrate. My favorite is the Adkins Advantage “Meal Bar” It has 15 – 17 grams of protein per bar, 1 gram of sugar, tastes great! The Peanut Butter Granola Bar is delicious. (Unlike some protein bars – this doesn’t have a chewy and chalky flavor and available everywhere!)
- Special K Protein WATER MIXES. Add a packet o your bottle of water. One packet is 30 calories and adds 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. They have two flavors: Strawberry Kiwi and Pink Lemonade.
- Whole grain flat-out flat bread has 9 grams of protein. You can spread some peanut butter on it which has additional protein.
- Unflavored protein powder. Add into hot or cold beverages. If using flavored protein powders/liquids be sure that you use what compliments the food’s or beverages flavor. For example, Vanilla would be good in Coffee. Also, you can make several baked goods like protein muffins or protein banana pancakes.
- Super Protein Shots. 26 grams of Protein. Comes in a 2.9 oz small bottle. My personal trainer recommended this! We add it to our water and ensures that we meet our protein goals for the days.
Protein – Per Grams:
Eggs and Dairy
- Egg, large – 6 grams protein
- Milk, 1 cup – 8 grams
- Cottage cheese, ½ cup – 15 grams
- Yogurt, 1 cup – usually 8-12 grams, check label
- Soft cheeses (Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert) – 6 grams per oz
- Medium cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss) – 7 or 8 grams per oz
- Hard cheeses (Parmesan) – 10 grams per oz
Beans (including soy)
- Tofu, ½ cup 20 grams protein
- Tofu, 1 oz, 2.3 grams
- Soy milk, 1 cup – 6 -10 grams
- Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) about 7-10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans
- Soy beans, ½ cup cooked – 14 grams protein
- Split peas, ½ cup cooked – 8 grams
Nuts and Seeds
- Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons – 8 grams protein
- Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
- Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
- Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
- Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams
- Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams
- Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
- Flax seeds – ¼ cup – 8 grams
- Chicken breast, 3.5 oz – 30 grams protein
- Chicken thigh – 10 grams (for average size)
- Drumstick – 11 grams
- Wing – 6 grams
- Chicken meat, cooked, 4 oz – 35 grams
- Most fish fillets or steaks are about 22 grams of protein for 3 ½ oz (100 grams) of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce
- Tuna, 6 oz can – 40 grams of protein
- Hamburger patty, 4 oz – 28 grams protein
- Steak, 6 oz – 42 grams
- Most cuts of beef – 7 grams of protein per ounce
- Pork chop, average – 22 grams protein
- Pork loin or tenderloin, 4 oz – 29 grams
- Ham, 3 oz serving – 19 grams
- Ground pork, 1 oz raw – 5 grams; 3 oz cooked – 22 grams
- Bacon, 1 slice – 3 grams
- Canadian-style bacon (back bacon), slice – 5 – 6
Have anything you would like to add to the list? Any favorite recipes? Anyways that you incorporate extra protein? Please let us know!