Ask 10 people what the BEST source of protein is, you will probably get 10 different answers.
Why am I talking about protein?
One of the most important things I teach parents of children with social, speech, sensory and behavior barriers is that we first need to heal the gut in order to heal the brain.
What you and your children put in your mouth impacts how much energy, focus and concentration you will have throughout your day.
If you want better concentration, energy and focus then you need to increase your protein intake. I recommend that you start each meal by consuming protein first. Read more about this in my article about nutrition and the brain.
Have your kids eat eggs, meat or fish. If your kids are not allergic to nuts incorporate nuts into their diet. The brain actually releases a chemical L-Tyrosine an amino acid that helps levels of concentration focus and alertness.
Protein also helps the body heal itself.
We tend eat very little protein for breakfast and lunch, then load up at dinner. A better approach is to spread your protein intake amount throughout the day.
My top 10 protein sources for optimal nutrition:
- Whole eggs. Eating whole eggs is important – while the whites do have some protein, too, you’ll get even more in the yolk, along with other great nutrients
- Wild salmon. Wild salmon is loaded with protein and it sometimes is an acquired taste with kids. So if they are not wild about salmon, make sure you eat it! With around 7 grams per ounce and it is loaded with great for you omega-3 fats, which are one of the most important nutrients you should consume in your diet.
- Cottage cheese. This one is popular with kids! Cottage cheese is packed with protein at 16 grams for just 1/2 cup. It’s a great snack … and if you can’t get over the curds, trying blending it in a smoothie or adding a little fruit.
- Beef. It’s loaded with quality amino acids (building blocks of protein), zinc, iron, magnesium and plenty of other important nutrients. Purchase leaner cuts like eye of round roast or steak, sirloin tip side steak, sirloin steak, or flank steaks.
- Greek yogurt. At around 16 grams per cup, this is a no brainer. With double the protein of “regular” yogurt and half the sugar, it’s a great choice for a snack or even a meal when you mix it with nuts, fruit, etc. Next time you make a smoothie use greek yogurt!
- Sardines. They’re loaded with protein, but also omega-3 fats and vitamin D, yet low in contaminants that are found on a lot of seafoods these days.
- Whey protein. Whey protein is loaded with amino acids and particular, some key aminos called branched chain amino acids. Add a spoonful next time you are making a smoothie.
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc). Try roasting a whole chicken at least once per week to have for dinner and leftovers for the next day or two. If you are short on time, then pick up one of those pre-cooked rotisserie chickens from the grocery store. Same with turkey — next time you are at the grocery store pick up a turkey breast and roast one.
- Nuts. these aren’t the highest source of amino acids, but their convenience put them on the list of great protein sources. Nuts make a perfect snack, portable and non-perishable. They’re also a great source of loads of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber.
- Quinoa. A vegetarian based protein that is also a complete protein, meaning it has all the essential amino acids. Try cooking quinoa with chicken or beef stock to give it some great flavor. Then add in your favorite roasted veggies for a great side dish.
I’d love it if you would leave a comment below and share what your favorite source of protein is!