Power through your day with protein

By Laura Schmidt RD, LD

More often than not, a typical day for most Americans looks like this: a carb-heavy breakfast, a sandwich or salad at lunch, and an overly large serving of meat/protein for dinner. The majority of us tend to eat a lot of our protein during our evening meals instead of getting 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal every day. The key is to spread out your protein intake throughout the day, helping you reach your health and wellness goals for 2017. Here are some great tips to help add more protein to all of your meals.

Breakfast: Starting your day with breakfast that includes protein helps you feel satisfied, helping you feel fuller throughout the first half of your day. Instead of grabbing a regular granola bar when you’re heading out the door, try a granola bar with at least 10 grams of protein. Greek yogurts are also a quick way to add 12 to 15 grams of protein to your breakfast. Make egg muffins or burritos ahead of time for quick breakfast options. Try adding peanut butter or milk instead of water to your oatmeal or smoothie in the morning.

Lunch: A busy morning might mean you didn’t have time to grab anything for lunch. You often find yourself eating out, grabbing something from the vending machines, or eating a salad lacking protein. Adding enough protein to lunch will keep you full throughout the afternoon, which will help you resist sugary or salty snacks. Try adding lentils and beans to your salads or wraps for added protein. Don’t forget hard-boiled eggs, which contain 6 grams of protein each. Top your fruit with a ½ cup of cottage cheese to get an extra 13 grams of protein. Need an afternoon snack? Try a half a cup of edamame which has 11 grams of protein or an ounce of nuts containing 6 to 7 grams of protein.

Dinner: Your evening meal is most often the easiest to prepare a protein dish for, whether you have soup or stew in your slow cooker or your favorite chicken or pork cooking in the oven. If you’re looking for a variety of protein options, stop by your Hy-Vee Meat & Seafood Department. Shrimp can make a great addition to stir-fry with your favorite vegetables. There are a variety of prepared protein options that include chicken or beef fajitas, or beef and chicken kabobs which only take a few minutes to cook. A good rule of thumb to remember: 3 ounces of flank steak, ground beef, ground turkey, chicken breast, pork chop and most fish all contain about 25 grams of protein.

Try out these protein packed Tomatillo Breakfast Tacos that have 20 grams of protein.

Tomatillo Breakfast Tacos

Serves 2

All you need:

1 tbsp Hy-Vee Select extra-virgin olive oil

6 medium tomatillos (about 8 oz), husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped

¼ cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 Hy-Vee large eggs, lightly beaten

¼ tsp ground pepper

1/8 tsp salt

4 small (4- to 5-inch) corn or whole wheat tortillas, warmed

¼ cup crumbled queso blanco or feta cheese

All you do:

1. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tomatillos, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid from the tomatillos is evaporated, 8 to 12 minutes.

2. Add eggs, pepper and salt and cook, stirring, until the eggs are just set, 2 to 3 minutes more. Divide the scrambled eggs among the tortillas and sprinkle with cheese.

To warm tortillas, wrap in barely damp paper towels and microwave on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds or wrap in foil and bake at 300 degrees until steaming, 5 to 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts per serving (2 tacos): 418 calories, 24g fat, 8g saturated fat, 389mg cholesterol, 498mg sodium, 32g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 6g sugars, 20g protein.

Daily values: 14% vitamin A, 24% vitamin C, 23% calcium, 18% iron.

Source: adapted from EatingWell, Inc.

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The information is not intended as medical advice.

Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Laura Schmidt is a registered dietitian representing Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community

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