Keep these groceries on hand to stay strong through the decades.
Getting enough protein can feel like an enormous challenge. After all, one review published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism concluded that people need to eat 25 to 35 grams of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to protect their levels of lean muscle mass and fight fat. And that’s a lot—especially when you’re crunched for time.
The good news: You can help your body get the protein it needs with zero baking, roasting, sautéing, or even microwaving anything. How? By making these three no-cook, protein-packed foods a staple on your grocery list.
Whole cuts are the less processed version of standard cold cuts. In your supermarket’s deli section, you’ll find packages of whole ham, turkey, and pot roast that’s been cooked and then sliced. A four-ounce serving can contain 26 grams of protein.
Serve it up: Eat whole cuts straight from the fridge, or dress them up. Spread hummus on one side of each slice, and wrap them around carrots, celery, or even grape tomatoes.
One cup of low-fat cottage cheese contains a whopping 28 grams of protein. And the majority of those grams come in the form of slow-digesting casein protein. Since it takes your body longer to break down and absorb casein, eating it as a bedtime snack can help you build muscle all night long, according to research from Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
Serve it up: Try mixing it with berries or melon, or simply slather it on top of toast, says Stacey Wiseman, R.D., a registered dietitian in Indiana. It tastes great as it melts!
It’s hard to beat the convenience of protein powder. A single scoop contains 20 to 30 grams, depending on the type you choose. Most experts agree that “whey protein isolate” is best for muscle health, with a 2017 study from McMaster University in Canada finding that whey protein supplementation improved muscle strength and mass in older adults.
Serve it up: Add one scoop of protein powder and one cup of milk to your blender, along with frozen fruit, a handful of greens, a tablespoon of chia or flaxseed, and some nut butter or avocado, and you’re good to go, says Indiana-based dietitian Kristin Hullett, R.D.