Simple Ways to Protein-style Your Meals
Every time you embark on a journey towards better nutrition, there always seems to be someone asking about protein. You already know you need it, that it’s necessary for building muscle mass and it complements well with your healthy carbs and fats. Sometimes it feels like baked chicken, tofu and fish are going to be your friend in the kitchen forever, but it doesn’t have to be that way at all.

If you want to start your day off with a delicious twist on pancakes, you’ll have plenty of energy all morning long when you try this easy recipe. Take ¼ cup of raw oats, ¼ cup of cottage cheese, ½ scoop of protein powder and ½ cup of egg whites or one large egg (egg substitute works well here too). Whisk all of the ingredients together and either pour onto your griddle or waffle maker. You’ve just added 35 grams of protein to your day and you’re still on your first cup of coffee!

Lunch doesn’t have to be another sandwich on whole grain bread (although they are pretty tasty when break time comes around!) If you like to prepare something on the weekend to take along during the week, you will love this vegan option that packs some serious protein into your midday meal. You most likely already have the ingredients on hand.

In a large bowl, take tender (boiled, cooled and shelled) edamame, a cup of cooled quinoa and a cup of thawed, frozen corn for the base of this filling salad. Add in about one half of a sweet red pepper, a generous tablespoon of chopped cilantro, two tablespoons of olive oil, and a tablespoon each of lemon and lime juice. Now it’s time to spice it up! Remember, you can add or subtract these spices to fit your taste. Add in ¼ tsp each of salt, thyme, chili powder and finally a dash each of freshly ground black pepper and cayenne for an extra kick. Mix well and keep chilled until ready to eat. Feel free to warm it up if you prefer your salad that way. These ingredients work both ways and every cup gives you 16 grams of protein to help you power through your afternoon.

If you find yourself wishing you had a dollar for every time you hear, “What’s for dinner?” you are not alone. Also, finding yourself in a recipe rut can wind up becoming boring and lead to making unhealthy choices. Why not try an overnight marinade that works with either firm tofu or chicken that bakes while the rice, risotto or quinoa is cooking? Start with three boneless chicken breasts or one package of firm tofu, cubed.

For the marinade, add in 1/3 cup of bourbon and whisk in a teaspoon of ginger, two tablespoons of finely chopped onion, 3 ounces of low sodium soy sauce, ½ cup of firmly packed brown sugar (or your favorite substitute) and finally ½ tablespoon of garlic powder. Pour the marinade over the chicken or tofu and place in the fridge overnight. Bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/2 hours, basting with the marinade to keep moist. Make sure the chicken is well cooked and juices run clear. Serve with your favorite side.

As you can see, adding protein can be diverse and delicious. Every meal gives you an opportunity to get high quality protein on your plate and into your healthy diet.