When it comes to fitness and nutrition, it’s always “protein this” and “protein that”. God forbid you tell someone that you’re going vegan or vegetarian, because that “protein” question comes up all too often, again and again.

While Americans are greatly concerned about their protein intake , this is probably overly so. According to WebMD, adults should get only 10-35% of their calories from protein which directly translates to about 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. While it may seem like these numbers may be hard to hit, the truth of the matter is that many Americans are actually consuming too much protein and sometimes even double the recommended – even those who are not specifically health conscious or riding the “protein train”. Oftentimes this is because many have the belief that the protein (typically meat, chicken, or fish) should be the center of attraction, when (in reality) it should only take up no more than a third of your plate.

You may think that there could be no harm in having too much protein – after all, it helps repair and replenish muscles and keeps you satisfied – but you would be wrong. The majority of America’s protein is derived from animal products, and while we won’t preach your ear off about plant-based diet, we will say that animal food high in protein are also typically high in fat which can raise cholesterol levels and cause an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even some types of cancer.

Instead of opting for T-Bone steaks at every dinner, choose from any one of these delicious and nutritious protein alternatives.

Beans, Lentils & Legumes

protein alternatives

When it comes to a hearty protein source, look no further than your beans, lentils, and peas! Did you know that beans have up to 8 grams of protein per serving size? Those numbers quickly add up – making it easy to reach the adequate amount of protein in no time. Of course you can opt for canned beans, but take the time to soak and cook your own beans whenever possible. Canned foods are typically full of sodium, resulting in unwanted water retention and bloating – which might already be a problem depending on your body’s ability to break down fiber!

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