5 high-protein foods a dietitian and personal trainer always keeps in her kitchen to build muscle and stay feeling full
Protein is important for overall health but also muscle-building and keeping yourself feeling full.
Dietitian and personal trainer Kara Mockler keeps certain high-protein foods in her kitchen.
She shared her staples with Insider, including lean meats and edamame beans.
Registered dietitian and personal trainer Kara Mockler shared the five protein-rich foods she always has in her kitchen to help her feel and perform her best.
Mockler eats a high-protein diet, aiming for 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (or 1.6-2.4 grams per kilogram) daily, for multiple reasons, she said.
"Protein is utilized all throughout the body to not only build muscle but also hair, skin, and pretty much every other cell in our bodies," Mockler said.
It's important to spread your protein intake evenly over the course of the day, rather than eating one large high-protein meal, she said.
"Eating protein consistently throughout the day allows our bodies to continually rebuild cells as they constantly turnover," Mockler said.
Another reason protein is important in the diet is because it's satiating.
"Protein makes us feel full, which is especially useful for weight management," Mockler said, so protein is important for anyone wanting to lose fat.
High-protein foods help Mockler hit her daily target.
1. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt, or similar dairy products like Icelandic Skyr, is significantly higher in protein than other types of yogurt, and Mockler finds it filling and delicious thanks to the different flavor options on offer.
"I use Greek yogurt in smoothies, to make a parfait, and on its own," she said. "You can also swap out things like sour cream or ranch dressing for plain non-fat Greek yogurt." Greek yogurt is generally lower in fat and higher in protein than those foods.
2. Eggs and egg whites
Mockler makes omelets with a mix of whole eggs and egg whites from a carton.
"This keeps the total fat content a bit lower (all of the fat of the egg is within the yolk) and increases the protein content with extra egg whites," she said. "That way I still get the vitamins and minerals from the nutrient-packed yolk but without as much fat."
3. Lean meats
Mockler regularly buys chicken breast, lean ground turkey, and lean ground beef, she said.
"I'll throw the chicken breast in the slow cooker and then shred it for a few days' worth of protein," she said. "I love adding lean ground meats in with pasta sauces to have over wholegrain noodles or using them in burrito bowls."
4. Shelled edamame beans
Edamame is a great vegan protein option, Mockler said, and she likes to buy bags of frozen beans for convenience.
"It's also a complete protein meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids, which not all vegan and vegetarian options do," she said.
One cup of shelled edamame beans contains 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber, Mockler said.
5. Ready-to-drink protein shakes
Mockler tries to get her protein from whole foods, but protein shakes can be convenient when she's on-the-go or doesn't have time for a sit-down meal, she said.
"There are dairy-based options and non-dairy options so everyone can find something that works for their diet preferences," Mockler said.
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