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Simple Protein Foods

author image Mike Everett
Based in Michigan, Mike Everett has been writing health-related articles since 2010, with his work appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM. He is a licensed certified fitness trainer from the International Sports Sciences Association, and he holds a Master of Business Administration in strategic management from Davenport University and a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from Grand Valley State University.
Simple Protein Foods
A plate with grilled salmon and asparagus on a restaurant table. Photo Credit: gusach/iStock/Getty Images

Protein boosts your energy to get up and go, and keep going. Simple proteins are proteins that yield only amino acids or their derivatives on hydrolysis or digestion. Sources of foods to include are meat, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, nuts and beans. Your body will thank you for eating plenty of simple protein and you will be satisfied longer, repair muscles more quickly and build muscle faster.

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Meat and Fish

Proteins from animal products are complete and simple proteins because they provide the complete range of essential amino acids to us. Stock your refrigerator with lean meats. Wild game is top-notch protein that includes bison, venison and elk. You should be getting your protein from a variety of healthy, grass fed animal sources. Grass-fed animal protein, like round steak, sirloin, lean ground beef, turkey and any wild game are rich in protein. Lean chicken breast, pork and turkey breast are all best when you can get them without the added hormones and antibiotics. Fish and seafood are healthy sources of lean protein, including anchovies, calamari, cod, flounder, grouper, halibut, mahi mahi, salmon, sardines, swordfish, tuna canned in water, tuna steak and sushi. Add shellfish including mussels, crab, lobster, oysters and shrimp to your shopping list.

Dairy Protein

If you want to give your protein a tasty boost, don’t overlook dairy products as a protein source. Choose low-fat milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt -- all of which are excellent sources of protein. Eggs are generally the least expensive form of protein. The American Heart Association says an egg a day is safe for healthy adults, so get cracking with eggs when you’re looking for simple protein. Eggs are easy to digest and set the standard for protein usability in your body since eggs have a 97 percent protein usability rating.

Vegetarian Sources of Protein

The American Heart Association says you don't need to eat foods from animals to get enough protein in your diet. Plant proteins alone can provide enough simple protein as long as sources of dietary protein are varied and caloric intake is high enough to meet energy needs. There are many sources of vegetarian protein. The next time you're in the store, pick up some vegetables, soy milk, a block of tofu, seeds and nuts, all of which contain both essential and non-essential amino acids. Combine rice and beans or whole-grain bread and peanut butter to your daily protein food list. Soy protein is a complete protein, like animal-based foods, and has all of the essential amino acids. Soy products are easily accessible and a good source of protein.

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