Many people struggle to eat enough protein, for example athletes and older adults. Below are 5 ways to eat more protein without necessarily adding volume or energy to your meals.
1. Choose higher protein versions of the same food
These days you can find high protein yoghurt, milk, cereal, bread, wraps, pasta, etc. Hence, the easiest way of increasing your protein intake is to choose a higher protein version of the same foods you are already eating.
On this topic, many people choose plant-based dairy food substitutes (e.g. milk, yoghurt) without realising that most contain less protein than the dairy-based option.
2. Increase the protein portion size
This is the simplest way of adding more protein to your meals: simply have a larger piece of meat, chicken, fish, tofu, or whatever protein-containing food you are eating.
If you are preparing a few meals for others in the family or to have leftovers, calculate less meals per weight of protein food. For example, instead of making 4 meals with 500 grams of beef mince, make 2 or 3.
Note that increasing the portion size will increase the energy content of your meal, unless you balance this out by removing other meal components.
3. Choose lower fat versions of some foods
Foods are made of protein, fat and carbohydrate. This means that the more fat or carbohydrate a particular food has, the less protein it has. For example, a lean steak will contain more protein than a fatty one that weighs the same.
Even if the difference in protein content is minimal, choosing a lower fat version of the food can allow you to increase the portion size without increasing energy intake if this is a concern for you.
4. Add protein powder
This sounds complicated but it’s relatively simple and is something food manufacturers do to increase the protein content of foods.
The cheapest protein powder is skim milk powder, which works well for meals that already contain or can contain dairy (e.g. smoothies, yoghurt, porridge, muffins, creamy soups, mashed potatoes, creamy pasta, etc.).
Other options are unflavoured (a.k.a. natural) whey or plant-based protein powders. Try them out before buying a huge container of powder as the taste or texture may not work for you.
5. Use protein add-ins
By call protein add-ins I’m referring to foods that have some protein and that can be easily added to meals in order to bump up their protein content. Examples include boiled eggs, nuts, seeds and cheese. These can be easily added to salads, soups, pasta, breakfast dishes, etc.
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