Fit Family: 10 Super Protein Foods

by Mike Levinson

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Protein; it’s what’s for dinner … and breakfast and lunch. Instead of relying on old favorites like chicken and powders (which are great), add a little excitement and variety to your meal. Your taste buds will thank you.

Here are 10 tasty alternatives:

1. HEMP SEEDS
Double whammy nutrition power of omega 3s and protein. Grams of protein: 13g per 1/4 cup

2. EDAMAME
This plant-based protein source provides an all-in-one balance of protein, carbohydrates and unsaturated fat. Grams of protein: 8g per cup (in the pod)

3. 0% PLAIN GREEK YOGURT
Versatility. We use this stuff in place of sour cream, to thicken soups, in smoothies, on bagels with lox. Basically, there isn’t really anything you CAN’T put it on! Grams of protein: 18g per 6-ounce container (or 24g per cup)

4. 1% COTTAGE CHEESE
Since protein helps prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar. It’s a VIP at snack-time, a much higher source of protein than regular style yogurt. It’s also a different texture than yogurt, so it gives variety in its uses. Grams of protein: 21 per 6 ounces.

5. QUINOA
Whole grain sources of carbohydrate provide fiber and B vitamins (which your body needs in order to use food for energy) Why not choose one that also packs a protein punch? Grams of protein: 8g per cup (cooked).

6. GRASS-FED BEEF
It’s obvious that beef is packed with protein, but grass-fed beef has the extra bonus of having a healthier fat profile than corn-fed beef.

7. SHRIMP
For convenience and nutrition, it takes about 10 minutes to get from frozen shrimp to a delicious meal. And with less than 1 gram of saturated fat, it it’s only 60 calories per 3 ounces with lots of important vitamins and minerals.

8. PRE-COOKED CHICKEN SAUSAGE
You get all the flavor that you love about sausage but with one third of the unhealthy saturated fats (and only 120 – 140 calories!). Grams of protein: 17g per link

9. EGGS
In addition to being a tasty, versatile source of protein, eggs are also packed with important nutrients choline and selenium.

10. LENTILS
They’re packed with fiber (15 grams per cup!), which helps you feel more satisfied with your meals in combination with the protein that they contain. This combo also helps keep your blood sugar more stable, which means less energy and hunger ups and downs.

Mike Levinson, a Calabasas resident, is a former amateur bodybuilding champion and registered dietitian who holds dual degrees in sports nutrition and physical education. He has worked extensively as a nutritionist with the California Angels baseball team and with famous athletes such as Charles Oakley, JT Snow and Sean Rooks. He also worked as a nutritionist for the Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders.   


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