Are you looking for ways to make your meal plan healthier? Try this lean protein challenge: get at least half of your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein from lean sources such as fish, beans, peas, lentils and low-fat dairy.
For example, a 140 pound, 5’7″ woman would need roughly 51 grams per day. Or, a 170 pound, 6’0″ man would need about 62 grams.
Why Lean Protein is Good for You
Protein is essential for human health. Your body needs it to make enzymes, blood, connective tissue, antibodies and more. However, popular protein sources such as beef, pork and poultry can be high in fat, cholesterol and calories. They can put you at risk for many different health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and may contain artificial growth hormones and antibiotics.
On the other hand, lean protein sources contain very little fat, are low in calories and are high in other nutrients as well. This lean protein challenge means you’ll not only be getting enough protein in your diet, but your body will also reap the benefits of other vitamins that aren’t commonly found in fatty protein sources.
The Best Sources of Lean Protein
Fish is one of the best sources of lean protein and it also contains other nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12 and potassium. In fact, just one serving of Tilapia has only 90 calories but contains 21 grams of protein. That’s nearly half the total protein you need in a day, and almost enough to complete the challenge. Other sources of lean protein include low-fat Greek yogurt, beans, lentils, milk and milk alternatives, cooked pasta and cottage cheese.
How to Get More Lean Protein In Your Diet
Now that you know what you should be eating, it’s time to add these lean foods into your meal plan. You’ll probably find that the easiest way to complete the lean protein challenge is by adding a source of lean protein to every meal. For example, if you eat 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with your breakfast, a bean salad with your lunch and a Tilapia fillet for dinner, you’ll get 46 grams of lean protein. That’s close to the recommended amount for both women and men. See how easy that was?
Next time you’re making a meal plan for the week, consider boosting the health factor by taking the lean protein challenge. By adding a few lean, protein-rich foods to your meals, you can help your body perform at its absolute best.
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