Need more protein? Mix it up and get creative

  • Monday, February 27, 2012

Black beans won't break the bank and even can be used to make a healthier brownie.

Getting enough protein in your diet to satisfy your hunger and nutritional needs can mean more than eating meat, poultry or fish. Look for other protein sources, too, such as soy-rich tofu or dairy products. You can and even go a little nutty.
“You can get 6-7 grams of protein in one ounce of nuts,” says Trident Medical Center dietician Catherine Grych, RD, LD, MPH.
From walnuts to almonds and pecans to pistachios, nuts are also catching a lot of buzz for the other nutrients and heart healthy fats they have to offer. Just keep portions small, because nuts pack a lot of calories, and watch out for added salt and oils that can be used in roasting. Grych suggests nuts as an oatmeal topper, and says peanut butter sandwiches can be great for kids and adults.
The peanut is America’s favorite “nut” but it is actually a member of the legume family, making it closely related to beans, another great economical source of protein. “You can get dried beans or canned for a lower cost than meat,” Grych says, “and it’s just something different to change up your typical menu.”
It’s easy to incorporate beans into Mexican dishes, such as quesadillas, or rice and beans, but Grych also tried a surprising recommendation from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which suggests replacing the oil in brownies with black bean puree. “The brownies were still really moist."

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