Protein serves two main roles in the body: 1) it is a component of tissues in the body, and 2) it plays a role in the enzymes that trigger chemical reactions. Health professionals recommend that 10 to 35 percent of daily calories come from protein. By choosing high-quality sources and making a few creative changes, you can find easy ways to increase protein intake.
Fish provides protein without excess saturated fat, and it is also a source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. You don’t have to eat a bland fillet to increase your intake. Firm white fish like halibut or catfish can be cut into large cubes and simmered in stews to replace beef or chicken. Flaky fish like tilapia can be ground with herbs and spices and then formed into fish burgers or fish meatballs. Four ounces of tilapia contains 21 grams of protein.
Use mashed beans for filling
Beans are full of protein and fiber. They make a delicious filling that contains protein without increasing saturated fat. Use mashed black beans as a filling for burritos or as a layer in lasagna. Mashed pinto beans can be a base for a taco salad or a quesadilla filling. Mashed beans can even be used in desserts like cakes and brownies. One-half cup of white kidney beans contains 6 grams of protein.
Blend in nut flours
Nut meals and flours are made by grinding nuts until they are fine. These flours contain the same valuable plant-based proteins as the whole nut. Blend them into shakes, batters, sauces, and oatmeal to give your meals a boost of high-quality protein. One-quarter cup of almond flour contains 6 grams of protein.
Explore the protein power of peas
Peas have often been viewed as a starchy vegetable without much nutritional benefit, but the protein power of peas is gaining attention. Mashed peas make a great side dish or filling, and fresh peas can be sprinkled over salads and stir-fries. Pea powder makes a protein-rich addition to smoothies. One-half cup of green peas contains 4 grams of protein.