Experts recommend that about 10-35% of your caloric intake be in the form of protein. If you are weightlifting, engaging in strenuous exercise, or recovering from illness, you may need more. Talk with your doctor, it’s important you know what your protein goals are. Additionally, it’s key to space your protein out through the day because your body cannot store amino acids and will convert it to fat or get rid of it.
When it comes to complete, high-quality protein, most think of chicken, turkey or beef meat. And too, fish, seafood, eggs and milk. But there’s good news for your taste buds! There are other great nonmeat options that may surprise you and help provide versatility when delivering the protein you need.
Nonmeat foods rich in protein
• Quinoa: This seed is cooked in a similar way to a grain and is unique in that it is a complete, plant-based protein. “Complete,” when describing a protein, means it provides all the essential amino acids our body needs. A yummy, good fiber source as well, it helps fill you up.
• Fruits, veggies and beans: Lima, navy, black and garbanzo (chickpeas) beans along with avocados, bean sprouts, green peas, spinach, sweet corn, asparagus, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, dates, broccoli, apricots, tangerines and coconut are also great protein sources. They’re also full of fiber and other vitamins, minerals that can reduce the risks of cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.