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Protein Food Sources for Meals and Snacks

As a dietitian, I even find it hard to hit my protein goal daily. If you're not sure what your personal protein goal is, first read this blog post all about protein and second, consider getting a nutrition assessment completed with me so you can get a full run down on what you should be doing to achieve your goals!

I generally don't always want meat with all my meals so finding other high protein options is something I'm always working on.

When it comes to breakfast foods, here's my go to's:

  • Eggs, whites and whole eggs- lets stop worrying about the amount of cholesterol in them as they do not directly correlate with high blood cholesterol. See this blog post I did all about cholesterol.

  • Breakfast meats like bacon, sausage, ham and they're turkey alternatives. OMG a dietitian recommending bacon?! YUP! Just a few slices though, not half a package daily. A slice of bacon typically has 2-3g of protein and a 1:1 ratio of protein to fat so that can add up quickly depending on how much you choose to have. The turkey alternatives will have less fat if that's something you're monitoring.

  • Yogurt, specifically Greek yogurt, has a good amount of protein and I generally mix with hot oatmeal or have solo with fruit and granola.

  • Protein powders are a great addition to smoothies, hot cereals or even in milk with cold cereals! I love the flavor options that Legion has and using code ALEXISFITCO saves you 20% of your first order and gets you double loyalty points on all other orders.

PSA: peanut/almond butter is not a good source of protein. It has way more fat per serving which makes it a fat dominant food. Yes, it does have roughly 4-8g per 2 tbsp serving depending on the brand but the fat content comes in at 15-18g per 2 tbsp serving. There's nothing wrong with adding PB to toast, hot cereals or fruit but I wouldn't count it as a protein source.

Moving onto lunch and dinner:

  • Sandwiches are a good way to get in protein with lunch meat, cheese and some spreads. Adding an egg can be helpful too since they generally have 5-6g protein per egg. Using whole wheat breads can add to the total protein as well and also provide you with beneficial fiber that your gut with thank you for! My favorite brand is at costco,

  • When I plan out my meals, I always prioritize some main protein source like ground beef, ground turkey, chicken, fish, or salmon. 3oz of any meat will roughly be 20-25g protein. Finding different ways of cooking these meats can add variety to your meal prep as well. Stews, casseroles, soups and more intricate dishes can help provide flavor but as someone who isn't always down to cook a fresh meal daily, I understand how this can sound slightly daunting!

  • If meat isn't your thing or you feel burnt out on your usual meal prepped proteins, try a

Greek Yogurt bowl with fruit, granola, chocolate chips and honey. You can also use some plant sources like tofu, beans and tempeh but be mindful that all plant protein sources contain a higher amount of carbs as well, generally 1.5-2:1 ratio of carb to protein.

Let's chat snack options. Snacks are usually something we want grab-n-go or easily put together and generally those foods are higher in carbs, ultra-processed or not satisfying. Snacks generally aren't 'high in protein' because at that point, then it's probably a meal unless you're slugging down a scoop of protein. Generally a good protein-packed snack has 10-15g protein.

  • grapes and cheese with a handful of nuts

  • tuna salad dip with veggies and crackers

  • avocado toast with a fried egg or bean spread

  • hard boiled eggs

  • cottage cheese with fruit

  • yogurt, specifically Greek

  • turkey and cheese roll ups with pickles

  • some protein bars- brand will matter when it comes to ingredients and gut health

To give you some sort of reference, as a 5'7" 150 pound female who considers herself active and weight lifts 3 times a week, I try to get in at least 100 grams or more of protein daily. For me, I can generally hit that with 3 meals and 1 snack per day but I am partial to a scoop of whey protein from Legion to help me hit that goal. usually in my morning oatmeal bowls, sometimes in my morning iced coffee (legion makes a mocha cappuccino flavor that is perfect for this!), in a smoothie, or just a scoop mixed with milk!


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