FROM LIVE BETTER AMERICA

Eat More Protein: 12 Easy Meals Your Body Will Thank You For (RECIPES)

For Samson, it was his hair. For Batman, his cape. For Popeye, spinach. But in real-life, our heroes and athletes derive their strength and vitality from a complex yet common molecule every body needs: protein.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adult men is 56 grams of protein per day — 46 grams if you’re a woman (and more if you are pregnant or nursing). Protein promotes muscle growth and strength and helps make and repair body cells.

Here are 12 ways to pack more protein into your diet. Try incorporating some of them into your daily routine, and share your favorite protein-packed foods and recipes in the comments.

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  • Edamame (soy beans), cooked, ¾ cup

    Add to soup, like this delicious <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/edamame-corn-chowder/75cf5389-2991-46ff-9c55-3d94cfc63774?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Edamame Corn Chowder</a>. Or, for those in a hurry, this <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/healthified-cajun-shrimp-with-mango-edamame-salsa/51bb4254-fbb8-4fc7-ade5-9cc02898c111?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Healthified Cajun Shrimp With Mango-Edamame Salsa</a> (pictured) is ready in 20 minutes. You can also add edamame to salad: this <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/healthified-green-bean-and-edamame-salad/858248f9-f6f3-4b00-9de3-7b54b15e2578?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Healthified Green Bean Edamame Salad</a> is great as a meatless main dish.

  • Quinoa, cooked, 1½ cups

    Use instead of rice, like in this <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/quinoa-almond-salad/1c32359a-3568-47e0-9846-42fe83e8af21?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Quinoa-Almond Salad</a> (pictured), or oatmeal, as in this <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/tropical-quinoa-and-fruit-breakfast-pudding/b7c20cd2-25f1-4521-bfc1-baafa2e5d518?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Tropical Quinoa And Fruit Breakfast Pudding</a>. Alternatively, substitute quinoa for bread crumbs, like in this <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/quinoa-stuffed-peppers/890c8b76-d78c-4d49-a840-509533a5e31f?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Quinoa Stuffed Peppers recipe</a>.

  • Lowfat (1%) Cottage cheese, 4 ounces

    Try making this <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/cottage-fruit-salad/4cf0d005-9b18-4ade-a005-a9a6562f64f5?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Cottage Fruit Salad recipe</a> (pictured) with toasted pecans and fresh fruit, or this <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/sesame-feta-veggie-dip/b78cc6d6-5651-4687-ad12-9cf1f71d5b05?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Sesame Feta Veggie Dip</a>, which you can make in a blender in just 15 minutes.

  • Tuna, canned in water, 2 ounces

    Add to a green salad or try this <a href="http://livebetteramerica.aol.com/2012/07/25/healthified-tuna-and-riga_n_1702386.html" target="_hplink">Healthified Tuna and Rigatoni Bake recipe</a>, with lightened lemon, dill and mustard sauce and a crunchy crouton topper.

  • Pumpkin seeds, 1½ ounces

    <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/homemade-roasted-pumpkin-seeds/507d42e5-6f82-48ed-8e14-356674bd68c9?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Roast</a>, eat plain or sprinkle on top of almost anything.

  • Greek Yogurt, 6 ounces

    Eat straight up or add fruit or granola for a bit of sweetness and crunch.

  • Ground sirloin, 90% lean, cooked, 2 ounces

    Use it in chili, stuff it into a pita, or make a casserole. This <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/black-eyed-pea-casserole/7d304111-ec2f-446c-a9e3-bf653801f6fa?src=SH?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Black-Eyed Pea Casserole recipe</a> has a sassy southern-style filling, finished off with an easy cornbread topping.

  • Nonfat Milk, 12 ounces

    Drink plain or add to whole grain cereal.

  • Canadian bacon, 3 slices

    Chop and use to make this chunky and chill-chasing <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/lentil-and-canadian-bacon-soup/9cd1f051-4092-4714-9e7d-f6ea6c8c5f17?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Lentil and Canadian Bacon Soup</a>.

  • Chickpeas, 1 cup

    Add to salad, pasta, or make this <a href="http://livebetteramerica.aol.com/2012/07/25/healthified-chunky-chickp_n_1702491.html" target="_hplink">Healthified Chunky Chickpea and Potato Soup</a>, with 71 percent less sodium than the original recipe.

  • Eggs, 2 large

    Hardboil, softboil, poach, scramble... or make this <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/healthified-spinach-and-cheese-quiche/7b78175d-4539-4f8a-86fd-6b8c03d0c59f?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Healthified Spinach and Cheese Quiche</a>, a delicious entrée for brunch or a vegetarian dinner.

  • Pinto beans, cooked, 1 cup

    Eat in a quesadilla or make this <a href="http://www.livebetteramerica.com/recipes/bean-and-turkey-chili/f6d3ebfc-7386-4d97-85fc-fd78f26a474d?nicam5=PARTNERSHIPS&nichn5=AOL&niseg5=TDCORE_LBA&esrc=16549" target="_hplink">Bean and Turkey Chili recipe</a>, which relies on ancho chiles and jalapeños for a south-of-the-border sensation.

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