Tired of the Same Old Protein?

 In Nutrition

You know protein is a must for a healthy diet, but the standard recommendations may be getting stale. Lean meat, eggs, fish, poultry and beans are all great sources of this nutrient-rich substance that is literally considered a building block of bones, muscles, skin, blood, and hormones. Of course, Human Growth Hormone is considered a protein hormone that the body naturally produces to encourage normal growth and development and, later in life, proper maintenance of the body. So there’s no doubt that getting the right amount of protein is very important. Now, check out some protein-rich foods that you may not have thought of, and give your diet a healthy kick!

Chocolate . . . yes, THAT chocolate! In the form of hot cocoa, that is. When you treat yourself to a warm mug of delicious hot chocolate, you are also treating your body to a healthy dose of protein, sometimes more than a serving of beans! The secret is in the combination of cocoa powder and milk, so don’t feel guilty when you take that relaxing break . . . you’re doing your body a favor.

Ice Cream – yes, really. Regular ice cream does have a few grams of protein per serving, but if you want a really sweet treat, try a whey-based one that tends to be high in fiber, packed with protein, and low in calories. Enlightened ice cream bars come in coffee, fudge, and orange cream, while Arctic Zero offers pints and bars in a range of flavors – mmm, Mint Chocolate! – and with no more than 150 calories . . . per pint!

Just for all you salty snack cravers, here’s something for you that isn’t just sweet treats: french fries and chips? When the french fries are homemade, they become a protein packed treat, and you aren’t getting all that oil and salt that you would from restaurant or vendor versions. And while they’re not potato chips, new versions of tortilla chips with ingredients such as flax, corn, or soy gives your snack a protein boost.

Veggies are protein, too, a least if you pick the right ones. Baked potatoes have plenty of protein, but you’ll also do well to choose broccoli at 4 grams of protein per serving, peas with double that at 8 grams per serving, and also at 8 grams per serving, sun dried tomato. Other vegetables that are packing some high protein punches are spinach, corn, and artichokes.

You don’t have to be a slave to the same diet choices in order to be healthy. Searching out new and different sources of essential vitamins and nutrients not only livens up your plate, it also helps keep your body in optimal shape.

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