I can’t tell you how many times either my friends, family, or members of my online bootcamps ask me this question. Protein is a hot topic right now in the health and fitness industry. When scrolling though my emails or browsing the web I usually open and read the articles from Popsugar and MindBodyGreen and have noticed many headlines about this powerful nutrient. Mostly because many of us are eating too much/too little protein and recent studies have proven that eating a high protein diet may help to increase weight loss due to the metabolism boost protein provides. While I’m not a nutritional expert, I have noticed significant changes in my body since making simple changes to my meals by adding additional sources of protein. I also know where to find reliable resources to help get you started in figuring out how much protein you need in your diet and how to add additional grams into each meal.
Your recommended daily value of protein depends on a few factors such as weight and activity level. Here is a great link to help you calculate the number of grams of protein that’s right for you. Or you could use the handy chart at the bottom of the link. When I first did this calculation a few months ago I considered my activity level extremely active because I workout in the morning and then spend the majority of the work day on my feet. I found that I wasn’t getting quite enough protein and started brainstorming ways to add more to my diet. Especially if you’re active, I suggest eating a serving of protein at all three main meals and then having one to two high protein snacks. Since I consider myself highly active I aim to get at least 20 grams of protein in each of my meals/snacks throughout the day.
I know it’s easier to reach for the box of cereal than to actually make or prep breakfast. And how many times do you catch yourself skipping lunch and just snacking on some chips, pretzels, or a granola bar instead. But it’s crucial to start your day with protein and continuously be eating it throughout the day to help give you energy and keep you fuller longer. I love how this chart lists high protein animal and plant sources along with the calories, fat, and grams of protein per serving. Thanks to Heather for today’s Friday Favorites link up. Here are some of my favorite recipes and delicious ways to add more protein to your daily routine.
- Add protein powder to your smoothie, it easily provides one full serving or 15-20 grams. I personally use Shakeology because I like all the added vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes it provides. An alternative is Vega Essentials Protein.
- Eat some legumes. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, these may be one of your main sources of protein. And if you’re not, you may not have thought to add these protein and fiber packed foods to your dishes. My favorites are chickpeas on salads and lentils and black beans in the lunches and dinners I prepare that all already have meat, the beans add just a little extra nutrients.
- EGGS. I literally would eat a runny egg on almost anything! You could also try prepping a frittata or egg cups for the week so all you have to do is reheat them for breakfast. Here are some great ideas and recipes:
- Broccoli Cheese Frittata
- Fried egg with smashed avocado on toast.
- Turkey Sausage Egg Muffins
- Add hard boiled eggs to your salad for lunch or dinner.
- Baked Ham and Egg Cups
- I love combining two fried eggs, half a roasted sweet potato, and a side of veggies such as brussels sprouts.
- Chicken Sausage, Kale, and Mushroom Frittata.
- With 8 grams of protein per serving make quinoa as a side dish or use it to replace rice or noodles in a casserole. Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad is one of my favorites to make in the summer time.
- High protein additions you could add to your morning oats which have about 5 grams of protein in a serving themselves:
- I like adding liquid egg whites to my oatmeal, and I call it Power Oats.
- Make Overnight Oats with greek yogurt.
- Add nut butters or protein nut butters. I really enjoy adding these small packets of Buff Bake Nut Butters to my oats. It’s a clean way to add tons of flavor and extra protein.
- Who doesn’t like a little crunch in their oatmeal? So add some nuts and seeds. Some of my favorites are pumpkin, sunflower, chia, and hemp seed or almonds and walnuts.
- Eat protein bars or homemade energy bites as a snack. I always keep a Quest bar with me literally at all times in case I get hungry while on the go. When shopping for protein bars, look for bars with minimal ingredients and sugar but that are high in protein, I would suggest at least 10 grams. Or you could make your own protein snacks, here are some great recipes to try:
- Greek yogurt or yogurt alternatives. Yogurt is so versatile, you can cook with it, bake with it, add it to a smoothie, oatmeal, mix with cereal, or eat it by itself as a snack topped with some nuts, seeds, or granola. I usually enjoy a Chobani Simply 100 or their new pure fruit Flips as an afternoon snack. And at Blogfest, I got a chance to try the new Silk Dairy-Free yogurt alternative and being a HUGE greek yogurt fan I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this was.
Whether your fitness goals are to lose weight, lean out, or develop muscle how much protein you incorporate in your diet could help you reach them.
Are you currently eating enough protein?
How do you add extra protein to your meals?