Protein comes from the Greek word proteios, which means “primary”. We know that protein is an important macronutrient for total body health, especially for athletes with goals! One challenge athletes face is getting adequate nutrition on the go. You know you need it, but getting proper nutrition can be challenging. I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think to pack high-quality protein into your meals and snacks. So, set the protein powder aside and get ready to prepare one or all of these protein-packed meals.
Fruit & Yogurt Parfait
This recipe comes from my book and has been a big hit among many readers. Simply take your favorite yogurt and layer it with the fruit of your choice (berries, melon or even dried fruit) and a fiber-rich cereal.
Felicia’s Tip: Most granola is high in calories without much fiber, so this is a smarter option. Yogurt is one of my favorite foods... after cheese! While many people think of yogurt as a breakfast food, this recipe can be used any time of the day! Look for plain or vanilla fat-free Greek or Skyr yogurt.
Layered Broccoli Salad
Who says salads must have lettuce? My kids love it when I have extra broccoli, so I can make this salad to send with them to school. This recipe uses broccoli florets in a layered salad. You can certainly use broccoli that has been steamed in advance, as it packs plenty of texture, flavor, color and nutrients into one bowl. In all my years of being a registered dietitian nutritionist, I can say that veggies are the most challenging food group for many people – kids and adults alike. This recipe combines the protein in vegetables with the high-quality protein found in cheese, making it an easy and tasty protein packed meal that you can make in advance.
Felicia’s Tip: This recipe calls for cheddar cheese, but you can swap it out for any cheese that you like! Arrange layers of broccoli, onion and cranberries in a large glass serving bowl. Whisk together ½ c yogurt, 3 T honey, 2 T mayonnaise and 2 T vinegar in a small bowl. Drizzle over the layered salad. Sprinkle 1 ½ cups cheese evenly on top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Then add a final touch of sprinkled sunflower seeds or walnuts and bacon pieces.
Tzatziki Dip & Veggies
This is one of my favorite dips to make for veggies. It packs plenty of flavor to complement your crispy veggies, and yes –it’s packed with protein!Try it with pita chips or spread it on your next wrap to add loads of flavor.Stir 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ cucumber, diced, 2 T fresh chopped dill, 1 minced garlic clove, and the juice of ½ lemon into a chilled bowl.
Felicia's Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip
Everyone loves buffalo chicken dip, but my take on it leaves you with more than just a snack. All you need are these three ingredients - chicken, Greek yogurt and hot sauce. That’s it! Combine 1 cup of chopped, cooked chicken breast with 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt and ½ cup Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce. This protein-packed creamy dip can be served with veggies or scoop it up with tortilla chips or crackers.
Felicia’s Tip: You can make it easier by using a rotisserie chicken breast with the skin peeled off. I love the way yogurt can “cool down” a spicy dip. This has become a favorite in our household. Most people are impressed that it tastes so good, since it’s low in fat and packed with protein.
Grilled Salmon with Yogurt, Lemon and Dill
Simply grill the salmon with a small amount of olive oil or use poached salmon to make it even easier.In a bowl, mix ½ cup of plain, Greek or Skyr yogurt with 2 tablespoons of fresh or bottled lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of fresh dill. Serve it on the side as a dip for the salmon.
Felicia’s Tip: I use fat free because the salmon has plenty of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. The salmon can be served hot, warm or cold. The yogurt, lemon and dill mixture adds a light and complementary flavor that is nutrient-rich (ahem, more protein).
American Dairy Association North East is one of 16 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.