Whether you’re trying to perfect your body before spring break or you simply want to start eating healthier, adding protein to your diet is a must. According to Women’s Health magazine, making protein a priority in your diet can benefit you immensely if you’re watching your weight. High-protein foods are harder to digest and they take more energy to metabolize, which means more calories are burnt throughout the entire process. That’s not all, though – protein takes longer to leave your stomach, which results in feeling fuller sooner and longer. Adding the right amount of protein to your diet can be exactly what your pre-spring break wellness routine needs.
Now that you know how beneficial protein can be for your beach bod, start implementing it in your diet! Here are a few protein-packed recipes that can fuel your body both before and after your workout.
1. Pork, Beans and Sauteed Peppers
This recipe – which serves four – from Real Simple magazine is a delicious way to get 40 grams of protein into your system. You’ll need:
- 8 pork cutlets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
Using a meat tenderizer, pound the pork cutlets to 1/4 inch thickness. This will tenderize the meat and lessen the cooking time. Season the cutlets with about 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
“This recipe is packed with 40 grams of protein.”
Then, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high temperature. In batches of two, cook the pork until done – this should take about three minutes on each side. Place cutlets on a plate and set aside.
Place the remaining olive oil in the skillet and add bell peppers, shallots, and kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Cook on medium-high heat, flipping continuously until soft, for about 7 minutes.
Once the peppers and shallots have reached the perfect texture, add the beans, olives, parsley and vinegar and combine in the pan. Plate the mixture with pork and enjoy!
2. Stuffed Chicken Breast and Brown Rice
Are you sick of your usual chicken and rice dinner? This recipe from Bodybuilding.com can help spice up your go-to protein dish. It packs a punch with 43 grams of protein. You’ll need:
- 1 6-ounce chicken breast
- 1/2 cup spinach raw
- 1 Roma tomato
- 2 tablespoons feta cheese
- 1/2 cup brown rice.
First, heat your oven to 375 degrees. Then, slice the chicken breast down the middle, but being careful not to slice all the way through. Season the chicken to taste, then slice the Roma tomato.
Next, open the chicken breast up and pack in the spinach, tomato slices and feta cheese. Fold the chicken breast back up and use a toothpick to keep it sealed.
Bake until chicken is fully cooked, about 20 minutes.
Next, using a small sauce pan, heat water until it reaches a boiling point. Add rice and cover until cooking is complete, about 10 minutes. Plate chicken and rice and enjoy!
3. Mango and Flank Steak Salad
Want to mix things up? Try this recipe for four from Cooking Light magazine. It combines steak and mango for a perfect sweet yet savory protein-packed dish that will add a burst of flavor to your weight loss treatment. You’ll need:
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated and peeled
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 flank steak
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 cups shredded lettuce
- 1/2 mint leaves
- 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 mango, peeled and diced.
“This dish will add the flavor your weight loss treatment needs.”
First, heat your grill or skillet to medium-high heat. In a large plastic bag, create a marinade by combining cilantro, 1 tablespoon sugar, ginger, garlic, fish sauce and soy sauce. Add flank steak and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Once the time is up, take the steak out and reserve the marinade for later.
Next, mist your grill or skillet with non-stick cooking spray and place steak on to cook, drizzling on the remaining marinade. Grill steak based on your desired doneness. Remove from grill and thinly slice into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, water, peanut butter, remaining sugar and crushed red pepper to create the dressing. Then, add the shredded lettuce, mint leaves, green onions and mango and toss to coat. Plate the salad, top with flank steak and enjoy!