The Best Protein Sources:

the best? really!? go ahead and argue, but I am about to tell you why the following items are some of the best sources of protein. 1. Eggs. little protein power houses, seriously. eggs are one of the most cost-effective protein sources. an entire egg offers approximately 6 grams of protein, along with a number of other extremely beneficial nutrients. and you can get 12 of them for $1.39!

2. Beef. most cuts of beef have around 7 grams of protein per ounce. A 6oz steak has 42 grams of protein and a 4oz hamburger contains 28 grams of protein. 7x6=42, 7x4=28...see how that works? Beef is loaded with quality amino acids (building blocks of protein), zinc, iron and magnesium. Choosing leaner cuts of meat will allow you to get more protein, less fat.

3. Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.). generally the rule of thumb for meat eaters is, the fewer legs the better, and well, these little guys only have 2 legs, so you're good-to-go! A 3.5oz chicken breast has 30 grams of protein! It's so easy to grill up a bunch of chicken cutlets or to grab a rotisserie chicken to have on hand for the week. Easy to add to salads, soups or sandwiches!

4. Wild Salmon. here's a story for you - I used to eat salmon with my nose plugged because I hated it so much (my very responsible mother refused to let me leave the table until I 'tried' it), but now I look for ways to add it to my diet and will gladly eat it! Most fish fillets are about 22 grams of protein for 3 ½ oz (100 grams) of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce. Salmon also offers Omega-3's!!

5. Cottage Cheese. thank goodness for dairy allergies because the texture of cottage cheese just weirds me out, however, despite my personal distaste, it can't be refuted that cottage cheese is a great source of protein. 16 grams for just 1/2 cup! Cottage cheese is a great breakfast or snack when topped with fruit and nuts! If, like me, the little chunks gross you out, ew, try blending it in a smoothie.

6. Greek Yogurt. if you haven't heard of Greek yogurt you must reside under a rock somewhere, because seriously, you can't even peek at the dairy aisle without being attacked by Chobani or Fage. 16 grams of protein per cup - DOUBLE that of regular yogurt (and half the sugar). hello!

7. Protein Powder. well, duh, right!? I mean protein powder better be a pretty fantastic source of protein. The most common is whey protein powder. However, because whey contains traces of milk, I choose to use egg white protein powder. These come in multiple flavors (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry...even orange cream sickle) and can be added to recipes, used in smoothies or just mixed with water/milk! Quick. Easy. Convenient. It's an awful lot harder (and slightly creepier) to carry chicken breasts and eggs around with you then it is to carry some protein powder for those post-workout munchies!

8. Quinoa. any vegetarians out there? yeah!? well, this is for you. quinoa has all essential amino acids and can be a great base for any meal. If you've never tried it, it's similar to rice, in that you can season it to your liking. 1 c. has 8 grams of protein. oh, and just in case you were confused, meat eaters can certainly enjoy quinoa too!

9. Beans. Most beans have around 7-10 grams of protein per 1/2 c. Pinto, black, navy, garbanzo....the possibilities are endless! Toss them in a chilli, add them to a salad, mash them up to make hummus...beans are an easy, vegan-friendly protein source!

10. Nuts. while they don't have the highest source of protein, they are very easily transportable. Purse, glove box, desk drawer, you should always keep a Ziplock baggie filled with 1 oz. of almonds/walnuts/cashews when you're on the run and in need of some fuel. 1/4 c. almonds has 8 grams. 1/4 c. cashews has 5 grams, 2 TBSP. of peanut butter has 8 grams.