Whether you are trying to lose weight or build muscle, protein is an integral part of your dietary requirements. The problem is that the staple sources of meat proteins like chicken, fish and beef often become bland and boring. In order to add some variety to your meal plan, we have put together a list of some new-to-the-palate, convenient protein sources to help you achieve your daily protein requirements.
Beans, beans they’re good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you….grow! Beans often make up a large portion of vegetarians and vegans dietary intake due to their fibre and protein content; however, beans are an excellent food for anyone looking to gain muscle or lose weight.
Beans are vital in the construction of complete proteins when combined with other plant protein sources. Couple a serving of beans with rice, wheat or corn and a complete protein is born. Beans like the pinto, black, red or garbanzo all contain roughly 20g of protein per half a cup; and the great thing is that they go well with most dishes.
Due to the high fibre content of beans, they slow digestion down and keep you feeling fuller for longer thereby helping to ward off cravings and keep your calorie intake lower, especially when on a cutting diet.
2. Chia Seeds
While chia seeds are rather tasteless, they are an excellent addition to almost any dish, plus, they are absolutely packed with protein. In fact, 50 grams of this seed contains 8 grams of protein. Besides having a high protein content, chia seeds also contain a healthy dose of fibre. So if you are looking to boost the protein content of you meals, then chia seeds are a great way to go. Add them to your Greek yoghurt, oatmeal, salads, veggies or even your favourite meat.
3. Greek Yogurt
Talking about Greek yoghurt, this versatile protein source is an excellent means of not only increasing protein but also fat. It can be used for smoothies, salad dressings, in creamy high protein dishes and can even be mixed with whey protein and peanut butter for a truly tasty treat. Besides protein and healthy fats, Greek yoghurt also provides critical active cultures to aid digestion and to keep the gut healthy.
4. Cottage Cheese
While we are on the subject of dairy proteins, cottage cheese is another fantastic option. Cottage cheese contains roughly 25 grams of slow-digesting casein protein per cup which provides a steady release of amino acids into the bloodstream for hours after it is consumed. It also contains a good dose of vitamin D. It is extremely versatile and can be used to make waffles, pancakes or even just added to your favourite whole wheat pasta.
When it comes to meat protein sources, very few South Africans think turkey. Turkey is a typically dark meat with an intense flavour. Like chicken, it can be used in a multitude of dishes. Besides being versatile, turkey is low in fat and contains roughly 24g of protein per 100g serving. Turkey breasts are the best cut for those who are looking for an extremely lean cut. Turkey can be found in most good supermarkets chains across South Africa.
A truly South African meat protein source is ostrich. Ostrich is very rich so while it may not suit every palate, it is very low in calories when compared to other meat sources yet is boasts roughly 22g of protein per 85g serving. The great thing about ostrich is that it comes pre-packed either as mince, sausage, burger patties or as steak which means that you can use it in a number of ways to prepare truly delicious meals. Plus, it is high in iron which helps metabolise proteins and plays a role in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells.
While some of these may not be new to you, they are often good high protein sources which are neglected. So why not change up your diet and experiment with new recipes and dishes. After all, a change is as good as a holiday.