eat, meal planning, protein packed

Start with Protein

January 21, 2015

 

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A protein based diet has been the key to my success when it comes to my healthier relationship with food. We have all been there – the guilt. “I shouldn’t have eaten that. How many calories are in thatThat portion size was too big. It’s going to take a week of running to burn that off.”

I get so tired of feeling guilty putting food into my mouth. I mean enough, is enough. I figure to stop worrying about all that, I need to change what I am eating all together. These days, my that food is protein and there are no guilt strings attached.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect. Some days, snicker bars are lunch.

So, it’s no surprise I plan my entire grocery trip around protein. The kids and I eat protein for every meal and I work vegetables and carbohydrates around the main course of meat or eggs.

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For me, buying meat is a no brainer but for some you might not be sure where to start. There are a lot of protein rich foods out there but how can you find them? Here are a few steps to help you incorporate more protein in your diet.

Step 1: Decide what proteins satisfy you.

Do you like red meat or light meat? If you are vegetarian what foods are protein rich? For us, we go straight for meat.  I don’t like to eat too much of one kind of meat protein in one week. So, at the grocery I pick up:

1. Chicken Breast
2. 93/7 Ground Beef
3. 93/7 Ground Turkey
4. Pork
5. Red Meat (like sirloin steak or stew meat)
6. Eggs
7. Bacon

Whatever meat protein you don’t use that week can go in your freezer for the next!

Step 2: Find what proteins are easily available to you.
If you are needing to go out of your way to acquire proteins, you aren’t going to keep them regularly in your diet. At my local grocery store, you can find all kinds of cuts of meat but I’m not always willing to pay for those cuts. Steak is a treat and I like to only spend $8-$11 per pound but I am not going to buy a $8 steak at Cub Foods. I will pay $11 to buy steak at the local meat & produce market where I know I am getting the best meat for my money. Plan grocery trips around where you find your favorite proteins. For example:

1. Ground Beef, Turkey, Lunch Meat, Bacon, Eggs – Super Target or Local Grocery
2. Steak, Loin/Roasts – Local Meat Market
3. Specialized proteins like: soy, chia seeds, quinoa – Whole Foods

Step 3: Know what recipes will go with your proteins.
I know if I buy chicken breast I can: put it in the crock pot, bacon wrap it, bake it or grill it. I can get away with buying two portions of chicken breast and use it twice that week. For example, Monday I will put chicken in the crockpot for tacos and Friday my husband can grill the other portion when he gets home from work. Make it a priority to have a few “go to” recipes for each protein and then a few recipes you can search for later using Pinterest to change things up. Here are a few recipes I like to get you started:

1. Chicken Breast (1, 2, 3)
2. 93/7 Ground Beef (1, 2, 3)
3. 93/7 Ground Turkey (1, 2, 3)
4. Pork (1, 2, 3)
5. Red Meat (1, 2, 3)

Step 4: Save Your Leftovers.
Even in you have only a few slices of chicken or a few tablespoons of taco meat left over, save them! Small amounts of protein are perfect for putting on salads, making a sandwich, or snacking on throughout the day. I like to make extra eggs in the morning to eat after my runs or to eat in the late evening when I am craving a salty snack. You can see my Instagram loves pictures of my late night eggs with Sriracha!

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Step 5: Have other protein rich foods readily available to you.
My favorites include:

1. Yogurt or Greek Yogurt

2. Protein Bars

3. Fruit like Cantaloupe

4. PB2

5. Beef Jerky

6. Cheese Sticks

7. Chocolate Milk

8. EAS Lean Protein Powder

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I hope this post can help get you started if you are looking to incorporate more protein in your diet! There is no one way to protein and I’d love you hear how you eat protein at your house, too!

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4 Comments

  • Reply Suzy @ The Mediterranean Dish January 22, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Appreciate your take on a protein based diet! Lovely blog; very resourceful.

  • Reply Kelly January 23, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I am starting to realize that protein is my friend too when it comes to keeping me energized and making healthier food choices. Thanks for sharing these great tips 🙂

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