Sushi’s a Good Place to Start
Head to the sushi station for a protein-packed prepared meal. Many larger supermarkets have their very own sushi chefs on-site, boxing up fresh fish and rice combination plates. If ever you need a quick, prepackaged meal, this is the place to stop: Sushi delivers protein and some fibre and is generally low in calories—one piece of a California roll has just 30 calories and less than a gram of fat. Just steer clear of the soy sauce, which is very high in sodium, or ask for the low-sodium kind.
Eggs: Another Egg-cellent Source of Protein
Don’t forget the eggs. Eggs have been much maligned over the years, but the fact is, they are an excellent and inexpensive source of protein and the most nutritionally complete of all protein sources. One large, hard-boiled egg contains 7 grams of protein and has just 2 grams of saturated fat. To avoid the saturated fat altogether, use the egg whites and throw out the yolks. Or you can dress that egg up (and get in a serving of veggies) by making an omelet and folding in iron- and fibre-rich spinach. In studies, people who ate eggs and toast for breakfast stayed full longer and ate significantly fewer calories the rest of the day than people who ate a bagel and cream cheese. Eggs do contain a fair amount of cholesterol, but dozens of studies have shown that it’s saturated fat, not dietary cholesterol, that raises people’s cholesterol the most.
Hungry for Hamburgers? Go for Ground Sirloin
It’s the leanest ground beef. A 3-ounce serving has 196 calories and 10 grams of fat. The next leanest is ground round (for 218 calories, 13 grams of fat), then ground chuck and ground beef (both about 231 calories, 15 grams of fat).
Pick Up Pork Loin
Pork loin is very lean meat and isn’t too expensive. Throw a couple of chops on the grill (dress them up first with a low-calorie garlic–lime juice marinade, or with chili and garlic powders) for a quick dinner—each is just 129 calories, with a healthy 16 grams of protein.
Stock Up On Chicken Tenderloins
Buy a package of chicken tenderloins to keep in your freezer for quick meals. Two tenderloins are roughly equal to one 3-ounce serving, which is about the size of a deck of cards. Tenderloins will marinate quickly and can be used in kebabs or tossed into stir-fry dishes.
Make Smart Selections at the Deli
Choose turkey or chicken breast at the deli counter. Lean slices of meat on whole-wheat bread topped with mustard and baby spinach leaves make a healthy, low-cholesterol lunch—that is, if you select lunch meats that are low in saturated fat. Skip the salamis and bolognas. Good second choices are lean ham and roast beef—just stick to two of meat in your sandwich.
Get Some Soy
Go to the freezer section for frozen edamame. These young green soybeans, in or out of their shell, are wonderful as snacks; just steam them and add a little salt. You can also add them to soups and salads. Soy has more protein, by volume, than beef, and virtually none of the saturated fat. Stash Seafood in the Freezer
Buy seafood to stash in the freezer. Vacuum-packed sole, cod, or salmon fillets, which are flash-frozen, are the next best thing to fresh fish. Keep some in the freezer and you’ll always have ingredients for a healthy dinner on hand. You can thaw the fish in the fridge overnight or defrost it under cool running water. Cleaned frozen shrimp is another great buy. Pair it with frozen mixed veggies and you have a stir-fry dinner ready to go.