Many people rely on beef, pork, and poultry as the main source of protein for their meals; and getting enough protein is important. Protein helps to build muscle, repair tissue and provides energy, along with essential vitamins and minerals. But as we face a potential meat shortage these days, it’s good to know there are plenty of other foods that can provide you with enough protein during the day to get this vital nutrient without relying on beef, pork, and poultry. Here are some foods to choose that are very good sources of protein:
-Nuts and seeds, including all types of nuts and nut butters, and seeds such as hemp, chia and flax seeds.
-Beans, legumes and peas-canned beans and legumes are excellent protein sources but can be high in salt. Look for low sodium or low salt canned beans, or rinse them with water before serving. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and peas are good sources of protein.
-Whole Grains-quinoa, brown rice, oats, millet and barley.
-Soy: tofu, edamame and tempeh
-Dairy-milk, yogurt, cheese and eggs
And don’t forget fish! Fish is an excellent source of protein – and some varieties, such as salmon, are rich omega 3 fats that are good for your heart.
It’s important to eat a variety of these foods each day to get all of the protein and nutrients you need – no one food has it all. Now may be a good time to try some new foods and recipes. Just do a search the “Meatless Monday” – you’ll find many delicious new recipes to try. And you might save some money on your next grocery bill!
Contact the Lowcountry Food Bank if you are low on food, or visit one of many local Blessing Boxes across the state – including ours at Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic. Trident United Way is another great resource to assist families with basic needs and utilities. You can find more resources here.
Joanne M. Gallivan, M.S., R.D.N. is a registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She served as the Director of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) in the Office of Communication and Public Liaison for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1997-2016. Previously, Ms. Gallivan has served as project manager for NIDDK’s Weight-Control Information Network (WIN), a national source of information on weight control, obesity, and weight-related nutritional disorders for health professionals and the public; as Contract Manager for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s National Cholesterol Education Program and Obesity Education Initiative, and as Director of the Prince George’s County Health Department Nutrition Division located in Maryland.
Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic is a free clinic in Charleston, SC, that provides free medical care to eligible patients, just like any family practitioner or internist. The Free Clinic serves uninsured adults living at or below 299 % of the Federal poverty level who live or work on Johns, James, & Wadmalaw Island or Folly Beach, or serve the Hospitality Industry of Downtown Charleston. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.