My relationship with protein got off to a tumultuous start.
In eighth grade, at the end of the day my friend and I would sit in math class, waiting for track practice and sharing our favorite brand of protein bar. As the days wore on, the luster of this habit diminished, and he and I were left permanently turned off to most products of this variety. (To add insult to injury, our teacher also erroneously decided that this person was my boyfriend and frequently paused class for minutes at a time to coo about our cuteness.)
From here, I really didn’t know where to turn. While these bars were still useful for last-second breakfasts and survival when lost in the woods, I needed to find consistent and palatable sources of protein.
Below are some recommendations for good ways to do just this on the Wesleyan campus. These options might be helpful to any college students who want a change of proteinic pace, from those eating plain packaged turkey as an afternoon pick-me-up to any vegetarians who feel left out by not experiencing protein in more popular manners.
For starters, eggs are cheap (Cheep!). Scrambled eggs are quick, reliable, and easy. Beat together an egg with some salt and pepper, and continue beating as you add approximately 1/4 of a cup of cold water. Add this mixture to a heated, oiled pan, and stir the eggs to break up the curds until they are fluffy and fully cooked. The entire process takes about three minutes. Eat it as an open faced sandwich on a piece of protein-enriched or multi-grain bread, and you have a satisfying mini-meal for any time of day.
As much as I have tried, I’m not a fan of plain standard yogurt. However, more offbeat yogurt varieties such as Swiss yogurt and Greek yogurt have a very different taste and consistency, often come in more appealing flavors, and are a better source of protein. Pick them up at Weshop, Red & Black Café, Pi Café, or the Usdan Café.
I’ve been a long-term bean addict. In elementary school, I was known for having a thermos of chickpeas nearly every day at lunch. Even now I cease to function if I go too long without chickpeas or edamame or green beans. Chickpeas are the simplest for a quick bean fix because they can be eaten straight out of the can with no preparation necessary. Simply adding a little salt will enhance the flavors nicely, or if you’re feeling adventurous you can add lemon juice or tomato sauce and hot pepper flakes. Edamame (though they typically need to be cooked if you plan to eat them in their standard form), can also be found in stores roasted or, even better, chocolate covered.
These are just a few of the ways you can try to rekindle the spark in your protein relationship. There are also protein-enhanced smoothies sold around campus (just make sure you shake well to avoid the ashy aftertaste), and you can jazz up any Usdan salad with quinoa or the aforementioned chickpeas and edamame, to name a few other ways. With all these possibilities, the passion need never die.
Happy body building!