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Wellness Wednesday

3 Ways to Add Protein to Your Meal Plan

blackberries and a smoothie

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Food trends come and go, but protein’s popularity doesn’t seem to be fading any time soon. Since I’ve been much better about tracking my food lately, I’ve noticed that I tend to eat a lot of fat and not as much protein as I thought. Keep in mind that the average American adult gets more than the recommended amount of protein, and it’s possible to overdo it. But, if you’re looking for new and fun ways to power up your meal plan with protein, check out these tips.

Make protein pancakes. A friend and coworker introduced me to this idea. She uses egg whites (purchased in a carton) in place of water for pancake mixes that only require adding water. She notes that it takes a little trial and error to get the consistency right. I gave this a try this past weekend using a pancake mix that only requires water. I replaced half of the water with egg whites and was pleasantly surprised by the light and fluffy texture of the pancakes. Top with sliced banana or fresh berries and you have a filling start to your day!

Try this protein pudding. Pricey protein powders are not necessary to meet your protein needs, but if you do have some on hand, and are getting tired of your usual protein shake, try creamy protein pudding. I add a half a scoop of vanilla protein powder to a couple of generous tablespoons of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt. I typically toss in a handful of fresh blackberries and mix and smash everything together for a delicious and filling snack.

Think outside the beef. As much as I try to make veggies the star of my meal plan, I do love a good hamburger from time to time. But good, quality ground beef can get expensive. That’s why I’m always looking to stretch my food dollars by cutting pricier ingredients with less expensive ones. One way to do this is to add one cup black beans and one cup of sliced mushrooms to ground beef the next time you fire up the grill for burger night. Rinse the black beans, add both the beans and mushrooms to a food processor, then add to the beef and form patties.

Do you have favorite ways to add protein? Share them in the comments section below!

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