One of the best things you can do to reach your health and fitness goals is to make sure you’re eating enough protein.
“What’s enough protein,” you ask?
Probably more than you’re getting right now.
Here’s a little quiz to find out whether or not you’re getting enough protein:
- Do you eat protein at every meal?
- Do you eat one gram of protein per pound of lean body weight or one gram per pound of your goal weight?
- Do you understand question number 2?
If you answered yes to all three questions, you’re getting enough protein. If you were like, “Whaaa?” then you need to hear this:
Protein helps build strong, sexy muscles. Protein satiates your appetite so that you don’t overeat. It can even elevate your mood and relax you—think tryptophan in that yummy Thanksgiving turkey. Those amino acids—the things we learned about in high school science, that are the building blocks of protein—truly nourish you in so many ways.
The most bio-available (the degree and rate of absorption) sources of protein come from animals. While meat and dairy products offer your body complete proteins (the full spectrum of amino acids) you can still get protein from non-animal sources.
For this post, I asked PFit trainer, Elise Miller, for five delicious protein recipes. They can all be altered according to your tastes and heart’s desire:
1. Protein patties
Calories = about 150 per patty
Protein = 10
Carbs = 13
Fat = 6
2 cups vanilla whey protein powder
1 cup oat bran
1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup honey-toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup salted peanuts
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded coconut
2 TBSP sweetened condensed milk
1 TBSP sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
MUSH everything in a big bowl.
SHAPE into individual patties.
PLACE on waxed paper.
STICK in fridge for a while. There is NO baking in this recipe. Hooray!
SHARE with pals. Goes great with coffee.
Makes a little more than 20 patties.
2. Spiced chicken wings
This one is adapted from Mark Bittman.
20 Buffalo style chicken wings
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 TBSP smoked chili powder
1 TBSP smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375.
Place all ingredients in a large plastic zip bag.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Bake for 25 more minutes.
3. Turkey muffins
This one is adapted from figure pro, Jamie Eason.
2 pounds ground turkey
1 cup oat bran
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp fennel seeds
¼ cup dried cranberries or pine nuts or both
Preheat oven to 350.
Brush muffin tin with light coating of extra virgin olive oil.
Mush all ingredients in a bowl.
Scoop into muffin tins.
Bake for 15 minutes.
4. Protein smoothie (serves 2)
1-2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 TBSP almond butter
1 ripe banana
1 tsp cinnamon
BLEND TILL SMOOTH. DRINK.
5. Body bowl
This one is more of a concept than an actual recipe.
Foundation: 4-6 oz protein, 3-5 oz carbs, lots of veg and/or a moderate amount of fat. Be discerning. Use your brains, imagination and chutzpah. Ideally each bowl will be 300-400 calories, 30ish grams of protein, 30ish grams of carbs and 10ish grams of fat. Here are 10 ideas to get you going:
- Turkey muffins, sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus
- Two whole eggs, oatmeal, strawberry fruit spread
- Grass-fed ground beef, miracle noodles, broccoli, hoisin sauce
- roast pork loin, roasted finger potatoes, green beans, apple sauce
- pan-seared salmon, brown basmati, garlic-lemon spinach with pine nuts
- steak, salad greens, maple-vinaigrette
- chili-lime chicken thighs, brown rice, roasted carrots with fennel seeds
- coconut flour crepes, turkey sausage, sauteed blueberries
- cottage cheese, nectarine slices, almond butter
- Non-fat Greek yogurt, frozen blueberries, 1 tsp honey, cinnamon
Obviously the body bowl can be time-consuming or not, depending on your ingredients. Think Greek yogurt versus sliced steak. The point is that there are countless variations and they’re all nutritious AND delicious. The same is true for every other recipe—turkey muffins can be made Asian style just by swapping out your ingredients. Try them using ground beef, sushi rice, peanut sauce and ginger powder. Smoothies can be made with coffee and cocoa powder, any low-glycemic fruit, and you can always add a handful of kale or spinach. The protein patties also have limitless possibilities depending on your imagination. You get the idea.