Protein is one of the most important nutrients in your diet, and clean, lean protein should count for at least a fourth of every meal you eat.
Protein is crucial when it comes to burning fat and building muscle.1,2 Your protein intake also has a direct impact on your immune system function.3,4 Plenty of protein is a must if you want to fight infection and inflammation, look lean and fit, and feel energized.
But not all protein is created equal! It’s important that your protein contains primarily healthy, lean fats, and how your protein is raised counts.
Protein sourced from plants or animals exposed to pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics is compromised before it ever reaches your fork. Research shows that growth hormones and medications commonly used with livestock can result in meat or milk that is harmful to humans.5 The same applies to chemicals commonly used in farming non-organic plants.6,7
To help make it easier to choose clean, lean protein, check out my top 12 options below. They’re all linked to delicious, healthy recipes that will make sure you enjoy your daily protein…
- Wild-Caught Fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut (17-22 grams protein/3 oz.)
- Organic Free-Range Chicken (30 grams protein/4 oz.)
- Almonds and other tree nuts (21 grams protein/3 oz.)
- Quinoa (8 grams protein/cup cooked)
- Pastured eggs* (6 grams protein/large egg)
- Full-Fat Plain Greek yogurt* (17 grams protein/4 oz.)
- Grass-Fed Beef (22 grams protein/3 oz.)
- Chia Seeds (5 grams protein/1 oz.)
- Flaxseed (6 grams protein/1 oz.)
- Legumes such as lentils, peas, beans (18-42 grams protein/cup cooked)
- Organic Pastured Pork (23 grams protein/3 oz.)
- Gluten-Free Oats (26 grams protein/cup)
The amount of protein you need each day depends on your body weight and activity level. However, 60 grams is a good starting point for burning fat and building muscle. And if you’re looking for a convenient way to get your daily protein, you can’t go wrong with a protein shake!
(You might notice that soy is missing from this list of healthy proteins. To find out why, you can check out this article.)
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*If not intolerant