Okay, so there’s no fooling you guys into thinking I’m a protein-shake-swilling gym goddess, but I have drank that stuff in the past, and that stuff tastes like drinking moths. Worse still is my continued self-delusion that if I buy a protein chocolate bar, it’s not really eating ‘badly’, then tasting the thing and wishing I had just bought a big 100g Dairy Milk and got on with it.
Foods labelled with protein as their selling point are showing up more & more in our supermarkets, with new products, and revamped ‘extra protein’ versions of traditional snacks becoming the norm. But why should we care about ‘getting our protein in’ with our diet, especially if we aren’t gym bunnies- is there any advantage?
Research has shown that protein, rather than fat or carbs, has the ability to keep you feeling fuller longer, and reduce cravings, which can help you regulate your weight. It literally acts as the building block for new muscle, so it can help you increase your strength. Animal protein especially has been proven to help bone density, which can be really beneficial for women during menopause. It’s also been shown to reduce blood pressure, which can help with heart disease, strokes and kidney disease. There are several other medical and scientific reasons upping protein in your diet is a plus, but let’s get into the food, shall we?
My top item to seek out on this Marksies’ trip was their new charcuterie-style, air-dried snacking crisps (top image). You’ll find these curious canapés in the fridges, as they are made from salami, chorizo and Serrano ham. They aren’t fried, are surprisingly low calorie per pack (under 150 cals) and are, of course, high protein. Super for those on low carb diets like Keto, these unusual snacks are very crunchy and packed with flavour.
Next I took a nosy in the takeaway, sandwich aisle, and found some new products that really wowed me. The new Falafel & Chargrilled Vegetable salad (above) looks like something you would be presented with in a fancy little artisan vegan cafe. The veggie and ‘healthy’ options Marks and Spencer has to choose from are miles away from what, to me at least, used to feel like picking a salad was a ‘boring’ lunch. In fact to me the protein pots look more tempting than the sandwiches! If a sarnie is your thing though, they do have a special new range of protein rich sandwiches too.
M&S was one of the first places I ever saw mini ‘protein pots’ on sale, a few years ago, with their boiled egg and spinach pot. Their range has expanded now with high protein pots like the Beautiful Beets & Feta Cheese variety, Chargrilled Chicken and Edamame, and Chilli & Coriander King Prawn.
For vegans, the Plant Kitchen range also has nourish bowls to takeaway, like the Edamame & Black Rice Salad (above) which is another rainbow coloured dream.
Another new high protein choice is the Free Range Egg & Avocado Salad. The colourful cabbage makes this one another tempting choice.
Lastly, some handy pots to stock the cupboard with for snacking (below). These quick and easy dinners can be whirled in the microwave, and again there’s a high protein option in the Balanced For You Smokey Pulled Pork option. There’s also a Chilli & Rice bowl, or Bolognese Pasta.
Vegans have several choices too, the Cauliflower, Coconut & Lentil Dahl pot, as well as Moroccan Lentil Stew a Mixed Bean Chipotle Chilli.
There is also traditional favourites like Shepherd’s Pie with Root Vegetable Mash. All these pots are £3 each and will be great lunch options as we head into autumn. I’m looking forward to all the new foods for that season too!
You can also check out some high protein recipes on the M&S website, if you fancy cooking something yourself from scratch.