Love. That warm, fuzzy feeling can also lead to periods of heart break, weight gain and stress. Now what could be the elixir to the cortisol-generating hell that love can be? That’s correct, it’s Proteins! Although most of us get an adequate amount of proteins from our daily food, it is also absolutely important to choose good quality protein sources and consume an appropriate amount of different kinds of proteins. Here I would like to brief about the importance of proteins and 15 filling & healthy protein rich food to snack on that keep our hunger pangs in check.
Importance of Proteins
Skin,bones, muscles, blood, enzymes (biological catalysts that affect every process in our body), antibodies (the defense mechanism of the body), hormones (that control all physiological and biological functions) and muscle tissues are essentially made of proteins. Proteins assist in weight loss, boosts metabolism and keeps the blood pressure in check.
Shortage of proteins can lead to muscle loss, damage to bones, weakening of immune system, muscle & joint pain and slow recovery from injuries.
Protein deficiency is especially a concern to athletic people, old people, children, people recovering from illness and people doing diet control to lose weight. It’s not usually recommended to follow a crash diet to lose weight fast. We may end up consuming fewer proteins ( than the required daily dose. And even when we do consume sufficient levels of proteins, they may end up getting utilized as calories for energy. This is because the overall calories consumption is not sufficient, so proteins get broken down for energy instead of getting used up for bodily functions.
That said, over-consumption of protein is harmful to the body as well. Moderation is the key.
How Much Proteins Is Enough
According to studies, an average person should consume 0.8-1.0 gram of protein per kilogram of the body weight. That approximately accounts for 48 grams for females and 56 grams for males. About 15-30% of calories should come from proteins.
Healthy Protein Rich FOOD for snacking
Let’s jump onto the list of nutritious, unprocessed, protein rich food to make sure we get right amounts of protein and, at the same time, wean off sugary or carbs rich snacks. These natural sources of proteins are abundant in high quality protein
1. Fruit Yogurt
Yogurt is a super food and one of the best sources of proteins (showstopper of this list. Sometimes I actually think about my lists as fashion shows and the list items as models. Fashion show theme is the topic. Music is my mood when writing). Yogurt may be considered an elixir for digestive system. It is rich in probiotics (healthy bacteria) that assist digestive system and help in better absorption of vitamin and minerals. It is beneficial for bone and hearth health. Blend a cup of yogurt with choice of fruits and add some honey for sweetness. Undoubtedly one of the healthiest snack and protein foods, yogurt allows us a wide range of yogurt smoothies to savor .
2. Kidney Beans
Kidney Beans like other legumes are rich sources of proteins and anti oxidants. They are loaded with several vitamins and minerals. Make a kidney bean soup or salad, you’d love both of them. The good thing about salad is that u may add your choice of freshly cut vegetables. I prefer tossing boiled kidney beans with chopped onion, parsley, capsicum, tomato, and mix it with some mint sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Sprouts truly are magic foods. They are a blessing for people who are not into healthy food or are careless about health and well being. Snacking on these powerhouses of health will give you most of the essential as well as scantly available nutrients. You can make a sprout salad by mixing together finely chopped tomato, onion with sprouts (raw or boiled and sauteed), semi-steamed corn shells and pomegranate. Add some lemon juice, salt and pepper. I prefer raw sprout salad. However, my mum freaks out when I don’t boil and saute the sprouts.
4. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese, when consumed in moderation, is excellent for health. It is rich in proteins, minerals (esp. calcium) and vitamins. It may improve immunity, strength bones and stimulate digestive health. At the same time, cottage cheese tastes good when used in conjunction with vegetables . Add this protein rich food to your salads and sandwiches to make them even more delicious.
5. Dried Fruits
Prunes, Dates, Raisins and Apricots are rich sources of protein, fiber, antioxidants and several vitamins and minerals (esp. iron). They are good for bone and muscle health. Having a handful of this mix a few times a week can give you a robust physiological system.
6. Seeds and Nuts
Walnuts, almonds, pistachio and cashews are rich sources of several nutrients needed for the normal functioning of the body. Apart from being a plentiful source of proteins and antioxidants, they are excellent foods for reducing risks of heart diseases and diabetes. A jar full of these at all times on your desk will ensure that you have a handful of these when hungry rather that gorging on some high carbs processed junk.
7. Oats Mix
Oats are inordinately blessed with several nutrients, antioxidants, proteins, fiber and folate. It helps in controlling blood sugar and lowers cholesterol. Vegetable Oats is filling and has taste of vegetables and goodness of oats. Saute finely chopped choice of vegetables, add water soaked rolled oats to the sauteed vegetables and mix well. Add salt to taste and some chopped cilantro. Oats dipped in chocolate (a healthy chocolaty oats dessert) another alternative to consume oats. Oatmeal is a popular breakfast option and keeps you away from hunger pangs. To make oatmeal, all you need to do is boil oats, some milk and water with a dash of salt in a pan. Let the the mixture thicken as water dries. Once made, add some honey and garnish with chopped nuts and seeds.
8. Lentil Salad
Lentil are abundant source of proteins and dietary fiber. They are digestive system friendly and good for your heart. They are rich in several minerals and help reduce cholesterol. Boiled green gram and black gram tossed with finely chopped cilantro, tomato, onion and a dash of salt and pepper tastes good. You can also make lentil soup by keeping the water along with the boiled lentils( add minced garlic while boiling). To the lentil soup, add salt, pepper, parsley.
9. Roasted Fox Nuts
Fox nuts are crunchy, tasty and addictive. They are supremely rich in proteins, fiber and other nutrients. At the same time, they are low on calories. The only drawback is that they are also rich in carbs. Savour some roasted fox nuts or you can even make some fox nut pudding for yourself. Another tasty alternative is to consume fox nuts in unicorn mix.
Milk is said to be the best muscle food available to us. It has high quality proteins (rich in amino acids and easily used by the body ) and is rich in calcium and other nutrients. Blend a glass full of milk with a fruit of your choice. The best part about milkshake is that it is filling and accentuates food cravings for a long period. Another option is to soak a few almonds in water overnight, peel them the next morning, grind the almonds, heat some milk in a saucepan, add the almond paste and let the milk boil. You may sweeten the almond milk with honey.This protein rich food when consumed just before going to bed is very effective for good health and sound sleep.
11. Beans and Peas Salad
Green beans is a power food rich in fiber, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Peas are powerful antioxidants. Steamed peas and beans salad tossed with a couple of other vegetables like lettuce and corn shells, and whisked with olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper is highly nutritious. You can also put together a bean and pea clear vegetable soup (although peas wouldn’t taste that well in the soup). One great way of having peas is making a filling of pea for tortilla or sandwich. For the filling, steam the peas, mash them, add salt, green chilly and pepper. That’d be it.
12. Soy beans and Chickpeas
Soy bean and chickpeas are packed with nutrients and plant based proteins. A salad of soy bean and chick peas is not only filling and one of the best protein rich food but also delicious. Another easy alternative is to boil soy bean and chickpeas and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Even this basic version tastes good. If you’d like to make it saucy, just add homemade salsa sauce to boiled soy bean and chickpeas. This is my all time favorite healthy snack.
13. Energy Bar
Also known as protein bars, they are perfect protein foods for people who are into physical fitness. A bar is made of seeds, almonds, walnuts, oats and cashews that make these nut bars highly nutritious. It’s addictive so make sure you don’t forget to keep track of the number. Nut bar is the best protein rich food to bank on when you are having a busy day and can’t afford for a full-fledged meal.
Guava, Kiwi fruit, Avocado, blackberries, jack fruit, banana are high protein fruits. These fruits have vitamin C in abundance, are low on calories because of their high water content and rich in fiber. Snacking on a couple of these natural sources of proteins once in a while will help you in weight loss and provide you with most essential nutrients.
15. Peanut Salad
Peanuts are the most addictive snacks on the face of Earth. You can have roasted peanuts. However, peanut salad is another great alternative. Toss finely chopped tomato, onion, parsley with roasted peanuts. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice. This simple, easy to make peanut salad is a super tasty and healthy option. Needless to say peanuts are high sources of proteins and consumption of this protein rich food a few times a week will be a good investment on yourself.
This is the list of my favorite protein rich food. Do let me know if there are any of your favorite snacks featuring on this list. Post your suggestions on the comment section below. If the post resonates well with you, please like, share and subscribe.
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Disclaimer: Some of us might be allergic to certain food items. Kindly consult a specialist before consuming anything that doesn’t suit you. People with medical conditions, pregnant women and those you are sensitive to food changes may consult a doctor before altering diet plans.