Usually, the first thing people know about nutrients is probably proteins. The word itself originates from the Greek word protos or proteios, meaning “first place” or “primary.”
What are proteins and why do you need them? Proteins are essential to our bodies and help us in maintaining strong immune systems, transporting molecules (like hormones) around the body, supporting movement of our bodies, and helping to repair and build muscles and bones.
So undoubtedly if you’ve done any research into diet, calorie counting, or macros, etc., you’ll probably be aware of how much protein is in your diet. Getting the right amount of proteins will make a difference on your fitness journey. The “right amount” will vary for everyone, but it is typically based on the weight of a person and how active they are. For some people, it’s a struggle to hit their protein goals for the day, but knowing what foods are good sources for protein helps a lot.
- Fish like salmon, trout, canned tuna, contain ~21 grams of protein per serving. The other great benefit of salmon are the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that it contains, among other things.
Poultry, mainly chicken and turkey, is America’s favorite source of protein. Poultry is great because it is a lean meat. 3oz of chicken or turkey breast contains about 26g of protein.
Lean red meats like lean beef or pork have plenty of protein, but they can be high in saturated fats, which isn’t great for heart health, so eating red meats in moderation is probably best.
Dairy such as eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are popular sources of protein, but the trick is to eat Greek yogurt that’s plain and not loaded with added sugars. Also, as you know, dairy often contains fat, which isn’t
Beans and legumes like kidney beans, black beans are some great, affordable, and versatile plant-based sources of protein that are also packed with fiber.
Tofu is high in protein and low in fat. 1 cup of tofu contains about 20g of protein.
Nuts are pretty calorie-dense and are fatty (but at least they’re healthy fats!). They also contain protein.
Protein powders/shakes are also a common solution to meeting your protein requirements. Plus they’re convenient, but just be aware of how much sugar and carbs that you might not want. It’s also a good idea to start your day with protein. It helps you feel full for longer so you’re less likely to snack or overeat throughout the day. Having high quality protein in your diet will help to keep your body and mind in good shape, so try to get these foods in your daily diet.