When you try to find sources of protein that are lean and healthful, most internet searches will make the inevitable suggestions of eating beans or chicken breast with the skin removed. Yes, it’s true that they are wonderful sources of protein. It’s also true that they taste great when you prepare them properly. But when you’ve eaten enough chicken breast for a small army and when you’ve eaten enough beans that you’re starting to wonder if you belong in the Wild West, things can get a little bland.
I take a lot of care to make sure to include enough protein in my diet, in addition to my fitness supplements. If you are attempting to keep up with health and fitness goals then the odds are that you are too. Protein fills you up, gives you steady energy for better endurance, and it’s vital for making sure your muscles have what they need to recover from workouts. Without enough protein, your muscles would atrophy, your body would start to burn tissues instead of stored fat for energy, and you will find that your workout endurance would plummet.
But try telling yourself that when you’re looking at the same sources of protein over and over. It can start to make your nutrition goals feel a little less appealing when the thought of eating that same ingredient is taking the wind out of your sails.
I went through this challenge. So many of us do. We need to learn the importance of variety the hard way, it seems, or we won’t learn it at all. We need to reach the point that we are sick to death of having the same things to eat before we take the time to actually find some other alternatives out there that will give us everything we need but without the taste bud boredom.
Here is a list of some of my favorite protein sources aside from the ones everyone is always recommending. Try to incorporate as many of them into your diet on a regular basis and you’ll find that you’re not as prone to being sick of your proteins anymore. In fact, when you mix things up enough, you might even find that you’ll start to enjoy eating chicken breast and beans again!
• Seafood – Whether you like shell fish or oily fish like salmon, sardines and other cold water fishes, you’re in luck because these are not only a wonderful source of protein, but also healthy fats. This combination can be amazing for killing your appetite while boosting your nutrition.
• White meat poultry – Even if you’re done with chicken, don’t forget that this isn’t the only poultry at your butcher’s counter. There are likely a number of alternatives there for you to consider. Among the best ones includes turkey. Whether you buy a turkey breast or some lean ground turkey meat, you’ll find that the taste is quite different, as is the texture. At the same time, it will provide you with a solid protein boost. Don’t forget to remove skin before cooking as it’s high in saturated fat.
• Dairy – Cheese, yogurt and even a glass of milk are fantastic sources of protein. More great news is that they also simultaneously give you a boost in calcium. Most dairy products are also vitamin D fortified. Considering that the majority of the population is vitamin D deficient, getting a bit of an added dose from your food doesn’t hurt one bit. You may be tempted to opt for the lowest possible fat level in your dairy products, such as skim milk or fat free yogurt, but check out recent research before you make that call. Full fat is being associated to an increasing degree with more effective weight loss, more efficient nutrient absorption and other health benefits. The key is to keep your dairy intake within a certain limit because you’re keeping the extra fat in mind. Consider 2% a nutritious middle ground to make things easier.
• Pork tenderloin – This option may surprise you but pork’s white meat is considerably leaner than it used to be. In fact, over the last couple of decades, the fat content of pork white meat has fallen by 31 percent on average. The versatility of this meat also makes it a great option. At this time of year, I love to cook it in the oven with apples. In the summer, I’ll cook it with Dijon mustard. Closer to Christmas, it goes great with cranberries.
• Eggs – Whether you’re on a budget or just want an easy, convenient source of protein, eggs have you covered. They had a bad reputation for a while when they’d been labeled as high in cholesterol, but even the American Heart Association says healthy adults can easily enjoy one per day without negative repercussions. Don’t fall victim to the egg white trend from the 90’s and early 2000s. The yolks contain the majority of the protein and nutrients in an egg, not to mention the flavor. So go for it!