Alright, so here’s the deal; contrary to what you might think, protein deficiency is a relatively rare phenomenon. If you live in the US, you’ve probably never even heard of the diseases commonly found in third world countries (like Kwashiorkor) that are caused by a lack of protein. Considering all the “diets” out there that pump protein like it’s the Holy Grail of all things healthy and demonize carbs like they are the root of all physiological evil, the real key to feeling, looking and living your best is balance.
Every day, I analyze what people eat, and I would say that when it comes to macronutrients in general, you probably go a little heavy on the carbs and fat and might not be getting quite enough of the protein. And so, while you might not be suffering from clinical protein deficiency, you might not be optimally fueling your body. Energy levels, immune function and body composition are all affected by the amino acids you eat. You probably know that eggs, meat, fish and poultry are all good sources of protein, but don’t forget about those great plant based sources that can boost your intake like lentils, edamame, peas, hemp, chia, quinoa, broccoli and beans. Now, I totally get it…running around with fish in your purse or broccoli in your briefcase can be a challenge. So, here are a few quick grab and go protein ideas (minus those super-processed protein shakes and “power” bars…).
1. Pumpkin Seeds: Pepitas are an awesome source of plant-based protein and are rich in disease kickin’ nutrients like zinc, iron, and phytosterols. You can eat them right out of the bag or grab a Go Raw Live Pumpkin Bar.
2. Plain Greek Yogurt: A small cooler bag is a great investment, and plain yogurt with nuts, seeds and fresh fruit is the perfect on-the-go combo to keep you feeling energized and strong.
3. Lentil Chips: Are they processed? Yes. Are they chips? Yes. Are they are relatively good source of non-gmo protein, full of fiber and gluten/dairy free? Yes!! (not bad for a chip;) My favorite brand is the Mediterranean Snack Co.
4. Hemp Cookies: Hemp is a surprisingly good source of protein. I have a great recipe for quick and easy Hemp and Oatmeal Cookies with only a few ingredients. Get an even bigger boost by adding in a few pumpkin seeds…
5. Soy: Edamame is versatile and easy to eat on the go, or you can try Roasted Soy Nuts. My favorites are by Simple Truth.They really are so good and have a whopping 11 grams of protein in a serving. Just be sure to buy any soy products organic; soy is one of the most commonly genetically modified (gmo) crops.
6. Chi-Chi-Chia: Chia is a super cool source of protein that is versatile and can be sprinkled into just about anything. I am recently obsessed with Chia Pods, a grab-and-go chia pudding (it even comes with its own spoon…).
Even on the go, healthy doesn’t have to be hard! Need more meal ideas? Check out my Healthy On the Go Meal Plan.