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(Meatless) Ways to Get More Protein in Your Diet

Here in the U.S. there’s a big culture built around meat-eating that can sometimes feel unavoidable. The summer can prove to be even more difficult with our weekend schedules filled with family BBQ’s and baseball games where burgers and brats are the norm.

Lean meats like chicken and fish are excellent alternatives to red meats, which can lead to certain heart issues along with a host of other health problems.

But let’s shake it up this summer with some lighter protein options – soy, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and certain veggies can be lower in saturated fat and contain phytonutrients that may help fend off disease.

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1. Pistachios: Don’t be fooled by their size…these little green-colored nuts have up to 6 grams of protein per serving. They also have plenty of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, iron, antioxidants and other nutrients. When you’re craving something salty and crunchy, this snack could be the way to go over that fatty and processed bag of chips.

2. Oats: Whole-grain oats are another awesome protein-filled option with 5-6 grams per cup of cooked oats. Added bonus: they contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol and keeps you fuller, longer. With oats’ complex carbs along with all that protein and fiber, you’re sure to get your morning started right.imgres-1

ttar_asparagus_v 3. Asparagus: Can a green vegetable have a lot of protein? The answer is yes! A cup and a half of cooked asparagus has over 6 grams of protein, about the same as the large egg you had for breakfast. Protein aside, this veggie also supplies folic acid (an important B vitamin, particularly for women of childbearing age) as well as vitamin C, iron, and more than 2 grams of fiber per cup.

4. Chia Seeds: These tiny seeds have been all the rage this year, and it’s no wonder why when a mere 2 tablespoons added to any meal can add about 3 grams of protein. Like the others, this protein source has additional benefits, including fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), which have been shown to help reduce inflammation and heart disease. You don’t have to eat them straight – add them to your morning oatmeal, blend them in your smoothie, or toss them on a salad as an alternative to chicken or fish.

 

None of these foods strike your fancy? Check out these other meatless protein options with tasty recipes that are sure to satisfy your craving.

 

 

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