If you’re watching your weight, you may have cut high-calorie meat, cheese, and other “don’ts” out of your diet.
But you’ve also taken away some of the richest sources of protein. High-protein foods take more work to digest and metabolize, which means you burn more calories processing them, according to WomensHealthMag.com. And since they take more time to leave your stomach than simple carbs, it’ll take longer for you to feel hungry again. We’ve identified healthy protein sources that are often low in fat or contain nutritious unsaturated fats to boost your energy levels and quell your hunger.
Add beans to soups.
Keep a variety of canned beans in your pantry as a go-to source of versatile, shelf-stable, healthy protein. Toss half a cup into low-calorie soup for a heartier dinner. Add a half of a cup to rice (and trim your typical rice serving in half) for a protein- and fiber-rich side dish. Swap beans into your main meals to replace meat, like in these recipes: Bean Bolognese, Black Bean Enchiladas, or Vegetarian Chili. One cup of beans adds 13 to 18g of protein, depending on the type.
Make oatmeal with milk.
If you’ve been mixing your oatmeal with water to save calories, add milk back to the bowl. Not only will you be adding healthy protein, you’ll also make your oatmeal creamier and more filling. A great ratio is equal parts milk and water, according to Slate.com. Make a 1/2 cup of uncooked oats (5 grams of protein) with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup fat-free milk (4 grams of protein).