11 ways to up your protein intake
Protein is an important part of our diet because it helps us build and maintain muscle, keeps our bones strong and keeps us feeling full longer, making it easier to maintain our weight.
So how do we make sure we are eating enough? Here are some tips to help you up your protein intake.
- Include a high-protein food with every meal. When it comes to protein, it’s not just the total amount you eat each day that matters. Getting enough at each meal is also important. Plan carefully so that you get high-quality protein at every meal and even in your snacks. Nuts, nut butters, eggs, chicken, lean red meat, yogurt, salmon, quinoa, and beans are all great options.
- Choose wholegrains. Not only do they have more fibre than refined grains, they also contain more protein. That’s why we use only wholegrains in Te Atatu Toasted cereal – we include buckwheat, quinoa and whole oats in our mueslis. Eat them with yoghurt and fruit to get even more protein at breakfast.
- Snack on cheese, not chips. A 30-gram serving of plain tortilla chips has 142 calories but only two grams of protein. But a 28-gram serving of cheddar cheese contains seven grams of protein, along with nearly 30 fewer calories and six times as much calcium. If you are going to have cheese and crackers, make sure the crackers are the wholegrain variety.
- Another high-protein ingredient we love to use in Te Atatu Toasted cereals is almonds. They are a better source of protein than most nuts. So, as well as eating them in your cereal, you can sprinkle a few tablespoons of chopped almonds over yogurt, cottage cheese or salad for an easy, yummy way to eat more protein.
- Look for ways to add nut butters such as peanut butter to your diet. They are delicious, high in protein and have a creamy texture that pairs well with a variety of ingredients. They can boost the flavor and nutritional value of fruits such as apples and pears, which are rich in fibre and antioxidants yet low in protein. Try spreading two tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter on sliced fruit or celery sticks – it can boost the total protein content by seven grams. We love Pic’s Peanut Butter made right here in New Zealand.
- Canned fish is a fantastic way to boost your protein intake. It’s so versatile – you can add it to salad or a wrap, serve with rice or even eat it on its own as a snack. A 100-gram serving of canned fish contains about 20 grams of protein and just 90 calories
- A hard-boiled egg is a great high-protein snack – eggs contain about six grams of protein.
- Baking with Te Atatu Toasted mueslis is another way to get high-protein snacks. Try our Gluten-free Bliss Balls or Crunchy Protein Balls.
- Don’t forget to include plant proteins. Fall in love with legumes - lentils are high in protein and fibre and low in fat. They're also packed with folate, iron, phosphorus and potassium. You will find them in our Gluten Free muesli so you can have them for breakfast. Or try substituting them for meat in recipes such as chilli, pasta sauce, or cottage pie. Serve a mix of cooked lentils and rice with your favourite curry or add them to a soup.
- Chickpeas are another great plant protein. Try hummus and veggies as a snack – one third of a cup (82 grams) of hummus contains four or five grams of protein, making it a filling snack that’s also high in many other nutrients. Veggies are fantastic, nutrient-dense foods to pair with hummus. To enjoy this snack on the go, try putting some carrot or celery sticks vertically in a portable container with hummus in the bottom.
- Eat edamame - a cup (155 grams) of edamame has almost 19 grams of protein and about 188 calories. It’s great as a snack or can be added to all sorts of dishes including stir fries, salads, poke bowls and other rice dishes. We have a great Poke Bowl recipe you can try for lunch or dinner.
Find out how much protein you and your family should eat each day and the protein content of everyday foods in our earlier blog, Why protein packs a powerful punch for health.