From helping to build vital cells to controlling our appetite, protein is an essential nutrient for healthy living.
All sources of proteins are made up of amino acids which the body uses to build all body cells and manufacture, grow and repair everything from hormones and immune cells to hair and nails.
The average diet provides more than enough protein for these needs but that doesn’t mean we can’t get more variety in the sources of protein or make sure we eat it at the best time to help manage our diets overall.
Adding protein to a meal is thought to help to keep us feeling fuller for longer - for example, eating poached eggs at breakfast may help you to curb mid-morning snacking, whilst opting for a protein–rich sandwich or wrap such as tuna, chicken or prawn at lunch could reduce afternoon hunger pangs.
Although protein is often thought to only come from meat, eggs, cheese, pulses and plant alternatives - soya and quorn are all good sources. Lean and low fat versions can be just as good at providing protein as the full fat ones, especially the plant based products.
To shake up your protein choices, here’s how the protein content of various foods stacks up per portion: -
* Meat, fish or poultry (100g cooked serving): Approx 20-30g protein
* Milk (200ml glass): 6.6g protein
* Soya milk (200ml glass): 6.6g protein
* Sausages (2): 13g protein
* Quorn sausages (2): 13g protein
* Peanuts (25g handful): 6.3g protein
* Other nuts (25g handful): 2-5.2g protein
* Tofu (100g serving): 8.5g protein
* Baked beans (half large tin): 10.5g protein
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