We all know that a well rounded health/fitness routine should include a diet high in protein. The trouble with this is that I tend to get bored with the traditional options: Chicken, Tuna ,Protein Shakes. Don’t get me wrong, these are all great options, but they can get pretty boring.
Today, we’re going to take a look at some less common, but healthy high protein sources and a few quick recipe ideas for them. In no particular order:
First Up: Lentils
Lentils? What the heck are Lentils – you may or may not be aware of these, but you should know they are super healthy and a great alternative for beef if you’re a vegetarian, or just want to change things up a bit. From the legume family, lentils are high in protein at 18 grams per cup (after cooking), but they also have an added bonus of 15g of fiber per cup! They’re even packed with Iron – containing 6.6mg per cup. Another bonus – they’re super cheap! They can be a little bland cooked and eaten plain, so here’s how we usually serve them in our house. We have at least one vegetarian meal per week, and these fit the bill perfectly!
Start by cooking with a 3:1 ratio (3 cups liquid to 1 cup lentils). You can use water, or a low sodium broth. They’ll take about 20-30 minutes to become tender. Once they’re cooked, we typically season them with taco seasoning and serve with your favorite taco condiments (low-fat sour cream, reduced fat cheese etc). Once they’ve been seasoned to your liking lentils are a great high protein health food!
Next up: Non-fat Greek Yogurt (plain)
Sure we’ve all heard that “yogurt” is good for you, but it’s generally loaded with added sugar – and is fairly low in protein (avg 5g per 6oz serving). Over the last few years, Greek Yogurt (yogurt that’s been strained more), has seen a huge increase in popularity. It packs a whopping 18g of protein per 6oz serving (for the plain variety). Greek yogurt also typically has less carbs/sugar and sodium than traditional yogurt.
You might be reading this and thinking “Plain Yogurt – that sounds gross”. I’ll be the first to admit that plain yogurt is not tasty at all to me. It can be used as a substitute for sour cream, but I prefer to use it as a pre-bedtime meal as follows. The protein in Greek yogurt is slow digesting – which will help keep your hard earned muscle while you sleep.
I like to take 6oz of Non-fat Greek Yogurt, add 1 scoop of Beast Whey (I prefer Chocolate), stir it until it’s mixed really well. The result – a 230 calorie bedtime snack with about 38g of protein!
Finally: Chicken Sausage
I know, I know – I said chicken was boring, but I was mostly referring to chicken breasts. Chicken Sausage – either pre-cooked or raw can be an excellent source of lean chicken protein, without the large amounts of fat seen in typical sausage meats. You’ll have to watch the sodium contents of these, but you can find some that are reasonable – in the lower 300mg per link range. Most varieties of chicken sausage out there will have about 15g of protein per link and they’re really versatile! You can sauté it up with onions, veggies and throw it in a frittata, or simply serve them up with some scrambled eggs. Either way, you’re getting a lot of protein without a lot of fat, and they taste great.
These are just a few of my favorite, less boring protein solutions. What are some of your favorite, non-boring, high protein foods? Leave me a comment and let me know!
From 9-5, Lonnie sits in front of a computer. Outside of being an IT Geek, he’s an athlete who’s familiar with the cycle of being fit-fat-fit that so many of us struggle with. Down from his highest weight of 300lbs in June 2009, he’s made the permanent lifestyle change to remain Big. Strong. Fit. Healthy. When not spending time with his wife, son and daughter, he’s at the gym keeping off the fat and adding quality lean mass.