7 Easy Ways to Eat More Protein

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
eat protein

Protein is essential to our bodies. Literally. You need to eat protein in some way, as it’s the building block of bones, muscles and skin, and the key component of enzymes, hormones and more. Proteins are made of amino acids, including nine that your body can’t produce on its own. Protein isn’t stored in your body as carbohydrates and fats are, so you need to eat protein each day to replenish your supply. Good news for everyone working toward a weight loss goal: High-protein foods take longer to digest than carb-rich foods, so you feel full long after you’ve finished eating.

How much protein do you need? The Recommended Daily Allowance is 0.8 grams per kilogram of your body weight. Just multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 and you’ll have the number of grams of protein you need to eat every day. A person weighing 150 pounds, for instance, needs 54 grams per day. Pregnant women and athletes may need more.

At least 10 percent of your daily calories, but not more than 35 percent, should come from protein, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Your Nutrisystem meal plan is carefully balanced under the direction of expert dietitians, so you get just the right amount of protein, along with healthy carbs and fats. While most people eat enough protein, you want to be sure your flex meals and snacks include plenty of good quality protein. PowerFuels, 80 to 120 calories per serving and at least five grams of protein, are the best choice. Lean meat, poultry and fish are popular sources of protein.

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Here are seven ways to eat protein in your daily diet:

1. Eggs

Eggs
Serving size: 1 large

Protein per serving: 6 grams

Why: An egg contains choline, a nutrient your body needs to help burn fat.

Fresh idea: Make a protein-rich and filling lunch of egg drop soup, with low-sodium chicken broth (a Free Food) and non-starchy vegetables like carrots and celery.

2. Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt

greek yogurt
Serving size: 1 cup

Protein per serving: 22 grams

Why: Greek yogurt contains healthy sources of probiotic bacteria, which aids in digestion, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Fresh idea: Make a savory and delicious dip out of herbs and spices.

3. Milk

milk
Serving size: 1 cup

Protein per serving: 8.5 grams

Why: From breakfast to bedtime, milk fits into every meal and is a great source of Vitamin D and calcium.

Fresh idea: When your day is dragging, treat yourself to the classic after-school snack with a cup of nonfat milk and your choice of the 10 kinds of cookies available on the Nutrisystem menu, including Double Chocolate Peanut Butter.

Grab some Nutrisystem cookies right here! >

4. Hummus

Hummus
Serving size: ¼ cup

Protein per serving: 2 grams

Why: While hummus is considered a SmartCarb, chickpeas (the base ingredient in hummus) are high in lysine, an essential amino acid rarely found in plant foods. Tahini, an ingredient made from sesame seeds, has the amino acid methionine. Together, these components form a complete protein.

Fresh idea: Instead of mayo on your sandwich, spread a thin layer of hummus on the bread or wrap.

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5. Edamame

Edamame
Serving size: ½ cup cooked and deshelled

Protein per serving: 11 grams

Why: Along with the big dose of protein, you also get nine grams of fiber and just 120 calories.

Fresh idea: Lightly steamed edamame are fun to snack on and a great way to eat protein—they even come in shells like peanuts that you crack open to munch the beans inside. Flavor them up with a sprinkle of garlic or chili powder.

6. Quinoa

quinoa
Serving size: ½ cup cooked

Protein per serving: 4 grams

Why: While this grain is a SmartCarb, it has all nine essential amino acids your body needs, making it a complete protein.

Fresh idea: Try quinoa instead of oatmeal for a hot breakfast on a cold day. Add walnuts for another addition to eat protein, or try dried fruit for sweetness.

7. Protein Shakes

losing weight
Serving size: 1 shake

Protein per serving: 15 grams

Why: When you need a big boost of protein, along with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics, Nutrisystem Protein and Probiotic Shakes deliver it all quickly, easily and in delicious flavors like rich chocolate and creamy vanilla.

Fresh idea: Keep Nutrisystem Shakes on hand for those hectic days when you don’t get to sit down and eat proper meals. The shakes have all you need to keep you going when time is tight.

Click here to stock up on shakes! >