What to eat: plant-based proteins
Even vegans who avoid all animal products can follow a high-protein diet. You can find ample amounts of protein in beans and legumes. Consider lentils, which have about 9g of protein in a half-cup, or chickpeas, which have more than 7g in a half-cup. Nuts and seeds are also key: a 28-gram serving of almonds (about 23 nuts) has 6g of protein while 28 grams of walnuts (14 halves) has more than 4g. And don’t forget soy. “It’s the only complete plant-based protein that has all of the amino acids you need,” says Adams. You’ll get 10g of protein in a half-cup serving of tofu and 8.5g of protein in a half-cup of edamame.
Don’t forget your veggies
When you are on a high-protein diet it can be easy to crowd out vegetables, especially if you are also trying to cut down on carbs. But don’t ignore leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, and other healthy foods. You’ll not only be taking in plenty of fibre – crucial for both weight loss and for helping to keep your digestive system functioning at its best – but also getting important micronutrients such as key vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytonutrients. All-star choices include spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, and lettuce.
Take it slow
If you’re not used to eating a high-protein diet, it’s a good idea to gradually increase how much protein you are getting over the course of a day. “All macronutrients are controlled by the pancreas,” notes Adams, “It can take three to five days for your pancreas to adjust to changes in the diet.” If you increase levels too quickly – say, go from 50 to 150 grams daily – you are likely to experience some dietary distress, including gas and bloating, he adds.