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Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating protein foods at every meal. What are “protein foods”? Why is it important to eat them? Which foods are better for you? We’ve got the answers for you below.

What are “protein foods”?

Protein foods contribute to a healthy and balanced diet. They supply the body with a healthy amount of proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Why eat protein?

Protein is vital for living, so you need to eat it every day.
– It’s essential for developing your muscles, bones, organs, hair, skin, hormones etc.
– It plays a key role in the growth of babies and children
– It fills you up so you’re not hungry between meals

 What are the recommendations?

– Eat one protein food at each meal
– Vary the protein foods you eat
– Choose plant-based protein foods more often

Plant-based protein foods are often higher in fibre and contain less saturated fats than animal-based protein foods.

Examples of protein foods

Animal-based protein foods

  • Meat (e.g., beef, pork and veal)
  • Poultry (e.g., chicken and turkey)
  • Fish (e.g., trout and salmon)
  • Seafood (e.g., clams and shrimp)
  • Eggs
  • Milk, cheese and yogurt

Plant-based protein foods

  • Legumes (e.g., red beans and lentils)
  • Soy (e.g., tofu and fortified soy beverages)
  • Nuts and nut butter (e.g., peanuts and almonds)
  • Seeds and seed butter (e.g., sunflower and pumpkin seeds)

Did you know? Greek and Skyr yogurt can contain up to twice as much protein as regular yogurt.

Tips for eating more plant protein

Finding it hard to eat more plant-based protein foods? Not sure how to cook them? Here are some tips for integrating them into your diet:

  • Use hummus as a spread for your sandwiches
  • Add chickpeas to your salads
  • Replace a portion of your ground meat with lentils
  • Add legumes to your soups or stews
  • Replace chicken with tofu in your vegetable stir-fries
  • Add nuts and seeds to your cereal, oatmeal or yogurt
  • Add silken tofu to your soups

Start by planning one vegetarian meal each week. Then slowly up it to two, three, four meals and so on.

Snack ideas

Try to include protein foods in your snacks. They will fill you up more and keep you from getting hungry longer.
Check out these delicious protein food snacks:

  • Hummus and raw vegetables
  • Fruit with mixed nuts
  • Yogurt with granola or fruit
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Rice pudding
  • Chocolate pudding (alone or as a dip with fresh fruit)
  • Peanut butter and chocolate energy balls
  • Fruit smoothie made with silken tofu or Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese with granola
  • Tofu or salmon spread with raw vegetables or crackers
  • Cheese muffins

Now that you know all about protein foods, it’s time to make them part of your daily diet!
Original article posted on the Fondation Olo website (In French only)