As our lives get busier, most of us experience dips in energy. Healthy habits like getting a good night’s sleep, regular exercise and a whole foods diet all contribute to good energy. While these are certainly effective, many people just can’t seem to squeeze in regular time to exercise, or make fresh homemade meals, or get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Luckily, there are ways to boost your energy throughout the day. How? By simply eating more lean, high protein foods for at least two of your three main meals.
Why Protein Is An Important Part Of Your Diet
Protein is an important part of your diet because it is one of the main substances that provide the body with the energy it needs to get through the day. Your energy can get depleted fairly quickly whether your day involves being physically active, running after kids, being constantly on the go, or have mentally demanding work.
Unfortunately, many times we get so busy that when we do have time to eat, we grab whatever is convenient — and that may not be the most healthy choice! However, keeping a good quality high protein snack on hand can actually help you to stay fuller longer by giving you ample amounts of energy from a nutritious source.
Protein is also important because it provides the body with the nutrients and vitamins needed to maintain healthy systems. A balanced diet should always include some form of protein (whether that’s plant-based or animal based) to ensure that the body can function well.
High Protein Foods To Include
Whether you’re adding them to your dinner or bringing them along for your busy work day, the following foods are high in protein and low in fat, sodium, and sugar.
These ultra-healthy snacks are great for an energy boost no matter how your day is.
Choose from the following to create a healthy selection of protein rich foods:
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: The egg has always been a staple food because it is inexpensive, highly nutritious and one of the easiest ways to add extra protein to your diet without a lot of fat. Hard boiled eggs are great because they can be saved in container and brought along to work, school, or while running errands.
- Nuts and Seeds: Raw nuts and seeds are extremely high in protein and a great food to nibble on when you don’t have time for a full meal. They are portable and shelf-stable, meaning you don’t have to worry about them spoiling on you if you wait too long to grab them. Add a small amount of dried fruit to the mix for extra flavor. My favorites are almonds and sunflower seeds.
- Nut Butters: Unsweetened Almond Butter is a great protein rich food because it can be added to just about anything and taken anywhere. Add almond butter to a slice of wheat toast, on a celery stick, with some fruit, or even between some crackers for a savory and satisfying snack. You can also try walnut, cashew and peanut butter (if you tolerate peanuts).
- Edamame: These bean sprouts can be eaten directly out of their pods. You can add them to a variety of dishes, eat them raw, or steam or sauté them to add a twist to this super-powered, protein-filled food.
- Cheese: Though the shelf life may be a little short, cheese is a great source of protein and can be added to just about anything. Natural, unprocessed cheese is the best choice for the highest nutrition value. Pair with some fruit, almonds and whole-grain crackers and you’ve got yourself a deliciously satisfying snack.
- Lean Meats: Turkey, chicken, and low sodium beef jerky are all great sources of protein. Adding meat to your diet is a great way to get a quick and healthy boost of energy that will last for hours. Pair these meets with cheese, veggies, and some fruit to make a quick lunch or a savory snack.
Experiment and find which proteins are best for you
Lean protein foods provide your body with the energy you need to function at your optimum health to fuel your busy days. There are plenty of other high protein foods to choose from. Experiment with different protein foods to determine which are the best for you for meals and snacks. Then make sure that you vary the protein foods that you eat throughout the week to get maximum nutrients.