How does one manage to get enough protein in the busy lives we lead? I found myself asking that a lot actually, especially during my recent rounds of Whole30. It may come as a surprise, working for a paleo centered company, that I once was a vegetarian, so it's taken years to get to the point that I'm at with meat — eating it, preparing it, and working that amount of protein into my daily intake.
I love a good roast, or braise, that takes hours and hours to cook, filling the whole house with aromatics, but to be honest, cooking that way can be exhausting. But what about all those other days, the days I don't meal prep? The days that I don't put a 4 hour pot roast in the oven? That's where my favorite sources of convenient protein come in handy. These are my "when in doubt," proteins. My "I'm in the middle of something important and don't have time to set aside 2 hours of my life to prepare a meal" proteins.
1. Portable Proteins: While these weren't always an option, healthy, clean, and Whole30 Approved portable, packaged proteins are abundant. And sometimes, you just need that super handy bag of beef bites in place of a home cooked slab of meat. If you don't particularly like one type of jerky, that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of this type of food — the options are nearly endless with portable proteins. You can choose from:
Our Whole30 Meaty Kit is a perfect way to stay stocked with portable proteins that are Whole30 compliant and Approved.
2. Chicken Salad: I avoided chicken salad for years when "fat was bad." 90's nutrition taught us all that low-fat was the way to go. Now we know that fats can be good, in moderation, and with the right kind. One kind of fat we're LOVING is avocado oil which makes Primal Kitchen Mayo, or homemade mayo possible, making my beloved chicken salad something I can enjoy daily. At the beginning of the week, I take all the meat from a rotisserie chicken, or couple of pulled or chopped breasts, mix them with some diced pickles, onions, cilantro, Real Salt, and Primal Kitchen Mayo for a convenient protein+fat option to have on hand for protein emergencies.
3. Finally, I LOVE to batch cook meatballs. The term "batch cook" might cause visions of Saturday spent over the oven to ensue, but fear not. My favorite way to make sure I have yummy homemade protein on hand it to get a big order of ground chicken or beef (the highest quality possibly you can) and mix it with delicious spices and herbs, so you can top your salads and veggies, all week long. I like to use ground chicken thighs — first, because the darker meat is more flavorful and moist, and most importantly, it's much less expensive, so you can purchase a higher grade of quality than you would if you were purchasing ground breasts. Whole Foods use a rating system of 1-5 for their meats, and I can typically get a better "grade" for much less when I go with thighs.
Preheat oven to 425.
Coat a baking sheet in olive or avocado oil.
In a small food processor, or with your knife and cutting board, chop cilantro, basil, garlic, and onion until very fine.
Mix chicken with herbs, onion, and garlic, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of Real Salt, and any additional seasonings.
Scoop out using a tablespoon and form a ball with your hand, before placing onto baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
I hope these easy little tips can be useful to you if your struggle with keeping adequate easy protein sources on hand. If you have any other favorites you'd like to share, join the conversation on our Instagram or Twitter page!
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