The idea of a high-protein diet might stir up ideas of gym junkies, body builders, and spray-tanned women flexing in swimsuits. ‘Not for me,’ you might be thinking. We’re here to tell you that it is!
A high-protein diet is actually essential for women in every season of life, especially in perimenopause and beyond. Even if your only goal is to feel better in your body right now and age better, and not necessarily to win a weight lifting competition, protein is for you! In fact, experts recommend that women over 40 should be getting about 75-90 grams per day.
So, what makes protein so important? This nutrient is key to maintaining and supporting all of your favorite hobbies and basic daily rhythms, and helps keep your heart, muscle, gut, and bones strong. Protein can also boost your metabolism and keep you feeling satisfied longer after meals, help your body recover from injury and illness, and keep your heart healthy and blood pressure low. Adding protein to your meals is simple (see foods and recipes below!) and could be your ticket to preventing sarcopenia (loss of muscle as you age), and decreasing your risk of fractures and osteoporosis (a bone disease especially common for women in midlife).
Do you want to feel strong, capable, connected, and vibrant for the years ahead? Say it with us—protein!
So, here’s a list of protein-packed foods to add to your everyday meals (with flavorful recipe ideas to spark your creativity!):
On top of being an excellent source of plant-based protein (5 grams per 2.5 tbsp serving), chia seeds are a great way to increase your fiber and Omega-3 fatty acid intake. It makes for an easy overnight breakfast or simple addition to salads, breads, smoothies, and more.
RECIPE: Try Minimalist Baker’s Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding. Tip: top with hemp seeds and peanut butter for more protein!
Eggs are one of the best known non-meat superfoods. Each egg contains approximately 6 grams of protein, as well as an impressive list of additional nutrients like vitamin A and B, calcium, zinc, and folate. Plus, they go with everything, savoury or sweet!
RECIPE: Try this High-protein Veggie Frittata by Erin Lives Whole, or Nigella’s Eggs in Purgatory.
These legumes (also called garbanzo beans) are another vegan-friendly option to pack a protein punch in your meal; 14.5 grams per 1 cup of cooked chickpeas! Their additional nutrients–dietary fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, and array of vitamins–are known to help with diabetes management, bone health, brain function, and heart health. Pick up some hummus next time you’re at the shop! You can also try adding chickpeas to your a salad, stew, or soup, or roast them with oil and your favorite spices for a crunchy snack.
RECIPE: Try the VEGAN Chickpea-stuffed Sweet Potatoes recipe at The First Mess.
The common white bean boasts 17 grams of protein per 1 cup serving, as well as high amounts of soluble fiber, manganese, iron, magnesium, folate and thiamine, and potassium. Use in your next soup, casserole, salad, or even in your next sweet baking recipe!
RECIPE: Try The Guardian’s Peppers, Burrata, and Cannellini Bean Feast!
This high-protein meat option includes approximately 30 grams per single serving, plus vitamin B, iron, and healthy fats. Try it in your next meal or savory breakfast, or spice it up with new flavor combinations like lemongrass and ginger, basil, rosemary, paprika, garlic, turmeric and chili, or coriander and cumin.
RECIPE: Try The Kitchn’s Slow Cooker Ginger Chicken Congee (a go-to for Movement Teacher Trilby as fuel for her Pilates classes!)
1 serving of this popular high-protein meat gives nearly 50% of your daily recommended intake, at around 29 grams. One benefit of turkey is slightly lower sodium amounts, as well as richer zinc and iron counts, though additional nutritional benefits are very similar. Try ground turkey in your next chili or pasta, burger, sandwich, or alongside a chickpea classic, falafel!