Learn some easy, accessible ways to add protein to your daily diet.
Ensuring adequate protein intake is important for overall health and wellbeing, but even more so for those challenged by malnutrition, dysphagia, or protein deficiencies. For those looking to increase their protein intake, the journey begins at home. Get some tips for increasing your protein intake that can be achieved through some simple and accessible means at home.
Protein-Rich Pantry Staples
A well-stocked pantry with ingredients and products that are long-lasting can help ensure you always have adequate protein on hand. Fortunately, there’s an array of pantry staples that not only stand the test of time, but pack a protein punch and can be incorporated into your daily meals:
- Protein Powders: An effective, time-tested method of increasing your protein intake. Powders, like our Hormel Vital Cuisine® Propass®, easily mix into smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt to seamlessly boost your protein intake without altering the taste of your favorite dishes.
- Beans and Legumes: Versatile and rich in protein, beans and legumes like chickpeas, black beans, and lentils can anchor your meals. Consider canned varieties or dried ones for a cost-effective protein solution.
- Whole Grains: Quinoa, brown rice, and oats are not only excellent sources of complex carbohydrates but also contribute significantly to your daily protein needs. Experiment with different grains to keep your meals interesting and nutritious.
- Canned Chicken and Salmon: Shelf-stable and protein-packed, canned chicken and salmon are a convenient and versatile protein source. They can be added to salads, sandwiches, or even as a topping for whole-grain crackers for a satisfying and nutritious snack.
Creative Cooking Techniques
Pantry staples aren’t your only means of adding increased protein to your diet. Getting creative in the kitchen can help you maximize your protein intake too.
- Add protein to your smoothies: Blend your favorite fruits with protein powders or beverages, yogurt, and a splash of milk to create a delicious and nutrient-packed snack, like our Healthy Shot® Peach Smoothie.
- Protein-fortified baking: Enhance the nutritional value of baked goods by incorporating protein powder, like Hormel Vital Cuisine® Propass®, into recipes for muffins, pancakes, or energy bars. This discreet addition transforms your sweet treats into a satisfying and protein-rich indulgence.
- The power of Greek yogurt: Go beyond just substituting Greek yogurt for regular yogurt. Use Greek yogurt as a base for homemade dressings, dips, or as a topping for desserts and breakfast bowls.
Meal Planning for Protein
In order to maintain consistent protein intake, it’s helpful to plan your meals ahead of time. Here are some tips for putting together a protein-packed menu at home:
- Make a menu for home: Having a well-laid out plan for your meals can help you visualize where you’re lacking in protein. Looking for inspiration? Check out our 7 Dysphagia-Friendly High-Protein Recipes.
- Include protein at every meal: Aim to include a good source of protein in each of your main meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This balanced approach helps distribute your protein intake throughout the day, promoting sustained energy levels.
- Diversify your protein sources: Embrace variety by incorporating different protein sources into your meals. Mix and match options like lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, and plant-based proteins.
- Preparation is key: Invest time in preparing protein-rich ingredients in advance, such as marinating meats and cooking batches of beans. Having these elements ready makes it easier to assemble quick and nutritious meals, minimizing the temptation of less nutritious options. Plus, your tastebuds will thank you.