(BPT) - It helps you build muscle and tissues. You need it to make blood, antibodies and hair. It keeps you satisfied for longer so you can fight hunger pangs. Protein isn't just for athletes and bodybuilders - it's essential for everyone striving for a healthy lifestyle.
The amount of protein needed varies based on a variety of factors, such as body weight and activity level. In general, if you eat 2,000 calories each day, you should consume 5 1/2 ounces of protein daily, according to recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
Protein is in every cell in the human body, so it's important to be thoughtful of your protein intake. However, that doesn't mean you're stuck eating meat, beans and peanut butter. There are many surprising sources of protein that make it easy to enhance meals and snacks.
Edamame: Tasty edamame (soybeans) are a protein-packed snack. One cup contains a whopping 22 grams of protein, plus calcium, magnesium and more. Eaten alone, it will quickly become a favorite snack. Or, add to salads or sprinkle on top of soups to up the protein ante pronto.
Spouted grain flake cereal: Loaded with 7-8 grams of important plant-based protein per 55 gram serving, Ezekiel 4:9 Flourless Sprouted Grain Flakes are sprouted to maximize nutrition and digestibility. Try original, flax+chia, raisin and almond varieties to start your day with a complete protein source containing nine essential amino acids. You can also add to yogurt or crush the flakes and use as a delicious crispy, nutty, sweet breading.
Sundried tomatoes: Add zest to pasta and chili with sweet and savory sundried tomatoes. One cup contains 8 grams of protein, so it's the perfect addition to any meal. Reach for sundried tomatoes with cheese and crackers, on sandwiches or to add amazing depth in flavor to sauces.
Chia seeds: These tiny seeds are known for their healthy omegas, but they are also an amazing source of protein. Just 2 tablespoons have 3 grams of protein. This is the perfect crunchy addition to yogurt or blended into a smoothie.
Peas: They may be small, but they are mighty in the protein department. Once cup of raw peas contains 8 grams of protein. Peas are more than just a side dish - add this great green to soup, blend to create a delectable sauce or sprinkle as a colorful garnish.
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