Protein is a necessary part of all of our lives to make us stronger and healthier individuals. It is natural for us to reach for something that has a good amount of protein.
BUT first we need to understand what really is a high protein, high value product, verses a protein that has "high protein."
How to know when a protein is the best for you:
Protein in every form is good for you to an extent. It helps us build muscle and sustain workouts longer to burn more calories. It also helps keep our bodies from breaking down our tissue allowing us to move better longer.
This means you want to get its best forms for most optimal performance in your body.
The best sources of protein are low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids. This type of protein is often referred to as lean protein because of the low-fat percentage found on labels. Think when meat is rated 90/10 vs 95/5. The 95/5 is better for protein content because it is leaner and contains less fat.
This type of protein can be spotted by anyone who knows how to look for it. First stop should be whole foods such as chicken and turkey. These are excellent sources of lean protein you can eat it with confidence that you will get all of the benefits from protein. These foods are almost solely protein and a great boost if you do not know where to add protein into your meals.
If regular chicken or turkey isn't you're thing and looking at the back of a bunch of food may seem daunting here are some other great options:
Ground Turkey (90/10% lean)
Fish (Watch to not overeat for high levels of mercury)
BUT it will not always be so obvious.
Many processed foods can also be a good form of protein, you just have to be looking for it. A good rule to follow when looking at a nutrition label is to have a 3:1 protein-to-fat ratio for protein-dense foods. It may not be as good as whole foods but it is a good option when trying to bring up your protein intake.
All of these options do come with a natural statement of MODERATION! Yes, even healthy eating can turn bad if eaten too much (or too little)..
Speaking of, you may have noticed that red meat is not on this list. That is because while it is a good source of protein it has been widely studied on the effects of overeating such meat and how easy it is to do so. In general, it is a good idea to not have red meat more than once a week to try and minimize the negative effects while still keeping the positive effects from the protein it stores.
These forms of proteins that have been listed are going to be able to get you to your goals and you do not have to overthink to do it. Yes, proteins are not made equal but with just a little extra knowledge we can conquer the grocery store and come out the best foods for your goals.