I have noticed that in the world of social media this week #alternativefacts is trending…big time! I am not an overly political person, but the world alternative hit me smack in the face with the idea for this post! I feel like a lot of people when they transition into wanting to start a healthy lifestyle and start to eat with their health goals in mind – they think that chicken is the answer. I eat a lot of chicken. Some days I wonder if I will start to sprout feathers!! It has not come to that yet, but could be on the horizon! Chicken – skinless and the white meat – is a really great, healthy, and affordable protein. You can do essentially anything to it. You can roast, bake, crock pot, braise, slice, dice, add all sorts of marinades. You can top salads, make soups, the possibilities are endless. Even thought chicken is very diverse, there are lot of other alternatives out there that will provide a protein packed meal or snack to get you through the day.
Aside from chicken there are other meat options for you that you can enjoy on a high protein diet.
We eat A LOT of turkey in our house. I like to roast a full turkey once a month. Mostly, my hubby’s favorite meal is Thanksgiving and all the fixings. I don’t make all the fixings…but it’s pretty easy to roast a turkey. Plus, turkey is a great source of high protein. I often cook with ground turkey. I made tacos, lasagna, and meat loaf with it. I buy the 93% fat free variety. You need a little something in the ground meat to make it stick together.
Red meat – admittedly I do not eat a lot of red meat. I always prefer ground turkey to hamburger…except when I was pregnant. I could not eat enough hamburger!! Every once and while I do crave a nice juicy steak. If you are craving one too – good news – there are some good cuts of red meat that are high in protein!! You want to look for leaner cuts – like loins. If you are looking for a protein packed hamburger – stick with the 95% lean ground meat. You still get a good amount of protein and some flavor!! I pretty much only buy my red meat from a local farm that serves up grass-fed beef. I use Grace Pond Farm. They aren’t local to the Machias area – but they are my people and are in the area often!! If you are nice, they might even deliver!!
Pork – the other white meat – and it’s so good!! We eat a lot of pork. It’s a really great source of protein and you can do a lot with it. We actually buy a half a pig from a local farmer and it fills our freezer for the year. The only bummer is that we get it just about the end of fall and we can’t grill all the out of this world pork chops!! If you are going for pork – stick to pork loins and chops. These are leaner cuts.
I love seafood and I am thankful that my family does too. Every Monday, we eat salmon. Salmon is super high in protein and you can cook it many different ways and add lots of flavor. Salmon sometimes has an overpowering taste – so if you aren’t really into fish – Salmon might be something to work your way up to. There is lots of discussion out there about whether you should buy wild or farmed salmon. I buy the fresh caught in Maine variety that the fish guy has at Hannaford. It is a darker pink than the farmed variety.
There are many ways to cook salmon – I’m going to share my family’s favorite recipe today!! It’s so easy and tasty…I think you’ll really like it. Also, the sauce that I cook my salmon is can also be used on pork or chicken.
Salmon with Honey Mustard Rosemary Sauce
1 pound of fresh salmon
Apple cider vinegar
Preheat over to 375.
In a small bowl put a 1/4 of a cup of dijon mustard. You can really use any flavor of mustard you like – I’ve tried a bunch. I always come back to dijon because it has that nice bite. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the mustard. Using a whisk – whisk up the mustard and olive oil. Next add about 2 teaspoons of good apple cider vinegar. I really like Bragg’s apple cider vinegar – it’s got some serious zing! You might want to taste it at this point – I like to add a little more vinegar because we like that flavor. Next, add your honey. I only use local honey that my really awesome beekeeping friends make. I’m so lucky to actually have a few choices!! Now, my kids like the sauce a little bit on the sweet size – so go ahead and add a couple teaspoons of honey. Next sprinkle 2 to 3 teaspoons of dried rosemary and whisk until everything is well incorporated. Taste it! This is important – some people like it more sweet – others more savory. There is no real measurements involved when I make it – just try it and let it rip.
To cook your salmon get a nice sized piece of tin foil and place in the center of a cookie sheet. Put your salmon on the foil and pour your sauce over the top – cover your whole piece of salmon. Next, you are going to make a foil packet. Draw up the sides of the foil and pinch together – you should have a nice little foil package!
Place sheet in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
We serve this meal with a yummy green veg of some variety – typically broccoli. I also make a cup of brown rice in my rice cooker. I only eat a mouthful of rice – but the kiddos and hubby like to to smoosh up their fish and put in on their rice and cover with sauce!!
This is what you get after it’s been in the oven for 30 minutes. The kids like their fish well done…not my fav…but if my kids are eating fish, I will cook it anyway they want!
Here is my plate before and after!! I like to make a second bowl of the sauce for the table. I put a little on my on fish, rice, and dip my broccoli in it!! This meal is so delish – I honestly can’t remember a Monday we haven’t had this dish!!
There are so many high protein dairy options for you to try out. I talk a lot about yogurt – specifically Siggi’s. A high protein go-to is Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt has higher protein because of the process that is used to make it. I just love how it tastes!! You can add some nuts and berries and have a satisfying snack. I add a dollop of Greek yogurt to my protein shake every morning! I also use plain Greek yogurt as a sub for mayo in my chicken and tuna salad. You can also make some mean dips using plain Greek yogurt. Another benefit of the plain variety is that it has very little sugar!!
Cottage Cheese – I love cottage cheese, but I know that a lot of people are not on board with it. You can do SO MUCH with cottage cheese. I love it sweet and savory. I would just be careful if you buy the flavored cottage cheese and check the sugar, it can ben high. It is always best to buy the plain and add your own stuff. You can also use cottage cheese as a sub for dips or just eat it right out of the container.
Eggs are a really great source of protein. They are easy to prepare and totally affordable. I am lucky to live in a place where so many people keep chickens – so I can enjoy fresh eggs often. Right after surgery when I was back on regular foods…eggs and I did not get along. I did not like the smell and the taste of iffy. I have since realized that I can’t do scrambled eggs. I can however have them sunny or made into an omelet!! I also really like them hard-boiled. I can just about eat one whole egg these days. I even eat the yolk…however, with the hard-boiled my stomach is not a huge fan of the yellow stuff. It’s so weird how my tiny tummy reacts to certain foods these days!! I just try to roll with the punches!
If you use Pintrest – do a search for “breakfast egg muffins.” There are literally thousands of recipes for these quick high protein breakfast treats. Scramble up some eggs. Add some cheese, meat, and veggies and pour into a muffin tin. Cook in the oven and enjoy! You will have enough to get through a full week and they are tasty!! I like mine with spinach and cheese – please!!!
As you guys already know…I’m a huge fan of my homemade trail mix and nuts. Nuts are a great way to get some quick protein. I do not do chips anymore so nuts are a good crunch replacement for me. I stick to what they call – Deluxe mixed nuts. I buy the Hannaford brand which includes: Brazilian, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, and almonds. My nutritionist warns that it is easy to over eat nuts. I know this is a possibility….but it is still one of my go-to snacks. I measure out my portions and don’t go back for seconds!!
Recently…I can not get enough peanut butter. I am sure I have mentioned this before. I have started maybe my own peanut butter and experimenting with lots of different flavors. So far my favorite homemade has – cinnamon, ginger, and clove spices and about a teaspoon of local honey!! Ummmmm….so so so good! Since I have made the change to natural – or – real peanut butter I will never go back to any of the brands that add sugar. Make your own – check out my latest video on my Facebook page!! d
There are many other chicken alternatives out there for you try – this is really a short list. I chose the ones that I have the most experience with. I love tofu, but I don’t cook with it enough to offer you too much insight. Beans and lentils are a good option too – I’m working on some recipes to share. Quinoa is an excellent protein source. However, since I am focusing on #lowcarb, Quinoa does not provide enough of a protein punch for me.
I really hope that you find something that works for you. It is so important when working on your diet that you do not get bored. Chicken is awesome, but eating it day in and day out can get tedious. There are so many option these days that you can really experiment and see what works for you.