By Kristina Marshall
It’s official: Children crave junk food, and some just gobble down platefuls of the stuff. It’s all to do with the heaps of salt, sugar, and fat in junk, which triggers the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain. High-protein foods are a better option. Science suggests these foods reduce appetite, boost strength, and improve the immune system. That’s because protein is one of the building blocks for blood, bones, muscle, and skin.
Convincing your children (and your partner) to swap tacos for tofu can be a serious struggle. Nearly everyone thinks high-protein foods don’t taste as good as foods with lots of sugar and salt, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Avoid disaster at the dinner table with these healthy protein sources that everyone in your family will love.
Eggs are among the healthiest foods on planet Earth. Packed-full of protein — a large egg contains around six grams of the stuff — eggs serve as the foundation for countless nutritious meals. Think of a tongue-tantalizing omelet with avocado, spinach, and tomatoes. (Add a drizzle of lemon juice for some zing.)
Eggs make a great protein choice because of their versatility. You can boil them, poach them, or scramble them. You can serve them with potatoes or rice or veggies. Cook up breakfast sandwiches with eggs, avocado, and sourdough bread. Or a hearty sausage and egg casserole. Whether your family members are meat-eaters or vegetarians, you can’t go wrong with eggs.
It’s not all about protein. Eggs have an incredible range of health benefits that improve your family’s nutrition. These superfoods contain lots of Omega-3s, raise good cholesterol, and include the essential nutrient choline. Add them to your shopping list.
Almonds aren’t the most exciting foods, but they pack lots of crunch, making them a healthier alternative to crispy potato chips. Still, they taste nothing like potato chips, and family members (kids, especially) might be reluctant to eat them at first. So explain the health benefits of almonds. These edible seeds — no, almonds are not nuts! — contain healthy fats, magnesium, vitamin E, and, of course, lots and lots of protein. (There are around 2.6 grams of protein in 10 almonds.) Though small, almonds also reduce hunger.
Almonds are just as versatile as eggs as a protein source. Pack a handful of almonds in your child’s lunch box or keep them in the kitchen as a post-dinner snack. If you ever wanted to be on Netflix’s “Great British Baking Show,” get creative and make almond shortcakes or flapjacks.
- Salmon contains long-chain Omega-3s like EPA and DHA;
- It’s full of potassium;
- It contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin which promotes healthy skin and reduces heart disease;
- It tastes great!
And salmon is so simple to prepare. You can bake it, grill it, or fry it. Then you can season it with pepper, garlic, and a couple of drops of lemon juice. Serve it with herb-roasted potatoes, glazed Brussels sprouts, or just enjoy it on its own.
People think of oats as more of a healthy carbohydrate source, but this food source contains a surprising amount of high-quality protein — around 11 grams in 100 grams of oats — so it makes this list. The protein in oats is avenalin, which you won’t find in any other type of grain.
So what can you do with oats? The possibilities are almost endless. Scottish porridge oats with a dash of almond milk make a healthier breakfast choice than Corn Flakes, while oatmeal brownies and cookies could become your family’s next favorite snack. Or add oats to pancakes, sweet potatoes, or yogurts as a simple protein booster.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains known to humankind because they burst to the brim with fiber, minerals, vitamins, and much-needed antioxidants. Oats also reduce sugar levels, and lower the risk for heart attacks, bad cholesterol, and stroke. Put a couple of bags of oatmeal into your cart the next time you go grocery shopping.
Incorporating more protein into your family meals doesn’t have to be a hard sell. Eggs, almonds, salmon, and oats are cheap and versatile protein sources that come with a massive range of nutritional benefits. They taste pretty good too. Switch up mealtimes with the power of protein and improve your entire family’s health.