Are you trying to maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight? Along with vegetables, it is important to include lean protein in your diet. These foods make you feel more full than veggies and most fruits alone. They also help you build muscle. This guide will help you substitute healthier leaner alternatives to other proteins, as well as give general advice about their preparation.
The most important thing to do when it comes to eating healthy, is to shop healthy. Put proteins on your shopping list so you have them always on hand. Freeze meat so you'll have it for a later date when you just don't want to run out to the store.
Your list of proteins might include:
*Chicken (Whole or chicken breast, not processed chicken fingers or fried chicken )
*"Fin fish" such as salmon, haddock, and cod
*Sliced deli meats like turkey and chicken
*Barilla Pasta Plus
*Go Lean Crunch cereal
*Beans and legumes
Egg whites are a nutritious source of protein but without the all cholesterol of the yolks.
If cholesterol is not a concern for you and your doctor at this point, and you are having trouble getting used to the taste of just egg whites, try this. I like to buy regular eggs, and scramble 2 eggs. One of the eggs I use whole. The other egg I use the white but throw away the yolk. This way I feel full, but not too full, and can't tell the difference with the taste. I also like this method instead of buying egg whites prepackaged that contain preservatives.
For variety at breakfast, try Go Lean Crunch cereal. Unlike most cereals, this contains protein, so it makes you feel full longer. And it's sweet, so it tastes great! Have it with milk or put some in low fat yogurt.
Have nuts with your mid morning snack.
These are to be eaten in moderation, because they are nutritious but they also have fat (the "good kind.") One of the better nuts are almonds, and one of the fattier nuts are peanuts. Along with some fruit or veggies, they will provide protein and make you feel full longer.
Another high protein snack I enjoy are soy crisps. These look a lot like mini rice cakes, but because they contain protein, they have a bit more substance to them, and will make you feel fuller. They come in flavors similar to potato chips, such as barbecue and sour cream and onion.
Bring meat for lunch.
Have a sandwich with grilled chicken, or sliced turkey or chicken from the deli. Or have tuna instead. These, along with veggies and whole grain bread, are simple and healthy lunch foods.
If you like chips with your sandwich, remember soy crisps are a healthier alternative.
Grill meat for dinner.
We all know fried food is not healthy. On the other hand, grilling is a healthy way to prepare meat and fish. To make grilling easy, I highly recommend the George Foreman grill. Unless you live in a climate where you can grill outdoors year round, this is an important investment. And if you live alone, you can get a small one for less than $20. It preheats in minutes, cooks food in minutes, it comes with instructions on how long to cook various foods, it drains off the fat, and it's easy to clean with vinegar. Replacement sponges can be purchased at Bed and Bath.
If you don't eat meat, or even if you do but want some variety, beans and legumes are a very healthy option for protein. You can search for recipes containing beans online.
Finally, as a healthy alternative to its starchy cousin, try Barilla Pasta Plus. This plus stands for the addition of natural ingredients it contains that are high in protein, so a serving of this has more protein than milk or cheese. And in my opinion, the taste and texture is harder to tell apart from normal pasta than whole grain pastas.
Tomorrow, you could bring some of the left overs from this meal for lunch.
Try hummus for an early evening snack.
I was so wary of trying this because it just did not look appetizing to me. But now that I've given it a try, I'm hooked. I used to love chips and dip, but that's so unhealthy, so I gave it up. Now I use hummus as a dip, and snacking is fun again! You can dip raw veggies or whole wheat crackers for a healthy snack. It comes in SO many different flavors, so there's no reason why anyone can't find one that they like. It is filling and nutritious.
If you're craving something sweet in the evening, have breakfast! Again, I like Go Lean Crunch cereal. You could eat it like popcorn because it's so sweet, but it's more filling than popcorn so it is easier to stick with a small portion.
So have it with milk like breakfast, put it in low fat yogurt, or munch a handful of it. Yum!
Remember, eating healthy and managing your weight can be difficult. A lot of times our instinct is to eat LESS. While portion control is certainly important, the SUBSTITUTION of healthy foods, i.e. grilled chicken for fried, is also important. If you eat more lean protein and less fat, you will be healthier. So happy munching!
If you must have beef, not all beef is created equal. Check to see if it is 85% lean, or 93% lean. The higher the number, the leaner and healthier it is.