Protein builds powerful muscles, boosts bones, and improves skin and hair. And don’t think you need animal products to ensure you eat enough. In fact, plant sources of protein come packed with other nutrients like fiber and vitamins, and contain less fat and cholesterol.
Some of your animal-free choices include:
- Soy foods: Many soy products aim to mimic the flavors of meats. Others, such as cultured tempeh, have a taste all their own.
- Beans: White, black, kidney, or chickpea—with so many varieties, you’re bound to find a legume you love.
- Lentils: Boil or simmer these pulses into a soup, stew, salad, or curry. Besides protein, they serve up plenty of fiber, folate, iron, and zinc.
- Nuts: Crack them open whole or spread them as butters. One serving—about an ounce of whole nuts, or 2 tablespoons of nut butter—provides between 4 and 7 grams of protein.
- Protein powders: These easy-to-use products blend simply into smoothies and shakes. Some products, such as whey protein, contain dairy. Others, such as pea protein, come directly from plants.
- Whole grains: You probably classify them as carbs rather than protein sources. But some whole grains, including farro and wheat berries, offer as much as 11 grams of protein per cup.
To set your daily protein target, multiply your body weight by 0.4 grams. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’ll need about 60 grams to meet your needs.
Looking to eat smart this summer? For more tips on how to incorporate healthy choices into your diet, click here.