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10 Tips to Eat More Protein!

WHY PROTEIN = IMPORTANT!

Protein: Welcome to the world of getting stronger, building muscle and living your best life! Whether you’re a beginner embarking on your fitness journey or a seasoned Results Fitness Warrior aiming to reach new heights, one aspect of your fitness regimen that demands your undivided attention is protein intake.

So, why is protein so important?

Imagine your body as a construction site, and your muscles as the structures being built. What do you need to ensure those structures stand tall and resilient? A strong foundational material, and you guessed it: PROTEIN is that very material your body requires to repair, build and maintain its muscle tissue.

My last blog talked about the two most important factors to maintain and build muscle: eating protein and strength training. When you strength train / lift weights, you’re causing tiny, controlled tears in your muscle fibers. Protein swoops in as the hero, repairing these micro-tears and fortifying your muscles in the process [sounds like an action sequence in a movie!].

Protein is essential for building muscle (among its other important jobs) but when it comes to the standard American diet, is what most people lack – womp, womp. There are many reasons why people don’t eat /get enough protein:

#1. Tricky marketing! Foods labeled as “protein” really aren’t a protein source or, don’t contain enough to count for even a single serving.

#2. Perception! Integrating protein into your diet doesn’t mean you have to down a gallon of protein shakes or, eat so much chicken that you begin to sprout feathers. With a little thought and effort, you can effectively begin increasing your intake and ensure your body is getting the fuel it needs and deserves.

In today’s blog, you are learning 10 tips to increase your protein intake starting today!


10 TIPS TO EAT MORE PROTEIN!

Eating protein is absolutely something you want to be consuming at every meal and snack. Here’s how to know IF you are eating enough:

  • Ladies: your goal = 1 palm sized serving of protein at each meal and snack

    • 1 palm = ~ 4 ounces, ~ 20-30 grams

    • 1 palm = 2 whole eggs, 4 egg whites, 1 cup of yogurt and 1 cup of cottage cheese

  • Fellas: your goal = 2 palm sized servings at each meal and 1 palm sized serving for a snack.

    • 2 palms = ~ 8 ounces, ~40-60 grams

    • 2 palms = 4 whole eggs, 8 egg whites, 2 cups of yogurt and 2 cups of cottage cheese

Here are 10 tips to eat MORE protein – pick one and give it a try today:

  1. Aim for a protein target at each meal and snack. Aiming to have 30 grams of protein per meal and 20 grams per snack is a great way to ensure you are getting sufficient protein as an active adult. Breaking down your daily needs into smaller, achievable amounts sets you up for success! Plus protein helps keep you full for longer so you may also notice a positive shift in your hunger levels throughout the day by adding more protein – win, win!

  2. Increase the serving sizes you already eat. Because you are likely already eating protein sources, aim for a 25-50% larger serving size (based on your targeted goals above). If you typically have a 2-3 ounce chicken breast, try increasing it to 4-6 ounces. Or, if you have 1-2 eggs with your breakfast, think about adding 1-2 more. By utilizing this practice with most meals and snacks, you can make a significant increase in your intake with little effort.

  3. Make protein the star of every meal. When building a meal or snack, decide on your protein choice first. From there, build the remainder of your meal/snack around that choice. For instance, instead of having spaghetti and meatballs, prepare that meal as meatballs with a side of spaghetti.

  4. Prep your protein in advance. Our food choices are directly affected by our environment. Because of this, the foods that are the most visible and accessible to us will likely be eaten first. Having ready-to-eat protein options at any given time will help make your choices effortless. Batch cooking is a great way to make several portions at once to have on hand at all times. For example, if you are grilling a few chicken breasts for dinner, double or triple the amount you are cooking and save the remainder to eat throughout the week!

  5. Keep convenience items well-stocked. This is another example of how to set up your environment for success. Identify your favorite convenience options and keep them stocked in your kitchen and pantry at all times. When you are in a pinch and need to create a meal or snack, convenience items can be a lifesaver. Think of items such as pouches of tuna, individual cups of yogurt or cottage cheese, protein powder, canned beans, or beef jerky, just to name a few.

  6. Make protein swaps. By making “swaps” you can trade out a food with a lower protein content for a food with a higher protein content. A few examples include choosing Greek yogurt over sour cream or mayo, replacing traditional pasta with a legume-based pasta such as one made with chickpeas or beans, and choosing whole grains over processed grains such as whole-grain bread versus white bread.

    Note: foods like chickpea / legume-based pastas are not a complete protein source meaning, they are still a carb BUT contain more protein compared to regular pasta and thus a better pasta option!

  7. Include ancient grains. When we think of grains, most will immediately think of options such as brown rice. There is a whole world of grains out there that packs a punch when it comes to protein content. Grains such as quinoa, barley and farro. Expand your choices a bit and reap the benefits of that extra protein!

    Note: most grains are not a complete protein source meaning, grains are a smart carb BUT contain more protein compared to other, similar foods and thus a better smart carb option!

  8. Incorporate nuts and seeds. While nuts and seeds are higher in dietary fats than they are protein, let’s not discount the protein they do contain. Just like the veggies mentioned above, these items can add up over the course of the day and help you hit your daily protein goals.

    Try adding items such as almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, or, hemp hearts. These choices can easily be incorporated by sprinkling on top of yogurt or oatmeal or, adding to a smoothie.

  9. Choose higher-protein dessert options. Needless to say, this tip is my favorite! Just like your snacks, be sure to include protein-rich desserts to really maximize your daily intake. I am including recipes for a few of my favorite protein-packed sweet treats below. Enjoy!

  10. Think outside the box. Many foods that are not primary sources of protein still contain some protein per serving and will contribute to your overall intake! These are not whole sources of protein but, are nutrient dense and foods you want to be eating anyways – win, win! 

    For example, 1 cup of broccoli contains nearly 4 grams of protein and 1 cup of spinach contains 6 grams. Over the course of the day, those extra grams can really add up! Other veggie examples include green peas, asparagus, artichokes, and mushrooms.

Higher-Protein Dessert Recipes:

3-Ingredient Brownies (Makes 8 servings)

  • 3 ripe bananas

  • 1/2 cup creamy almond butter

  • 2 tablespoons 100% cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas with the almond butter until smooth.

3. Add cocoa powder and mix well to combine.

4. Pour batter into a lightly greased 8×8 pan.

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting.

Flourless Banana Bread (Makes 8 servings)

  • 3 medium ripe bananas

  • 2 cups oats

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

3.  Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

4. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Cookie Dough Yogurt (Makes 1 serving)

  • 1 small container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon nut butter of choice

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • dash of sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs

  • Mix and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Fruit Dip (Makes 2 servings)

  •  1 cup plain Greek yogurt

  •  2-3 tablespoons powdered peanut butter

  •  Fruits such as apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.

1. MIx Greek yogurt and pb powder well to combine.

2. Start dippin’!

Blender Brownies (makes 8 servings)

  • 1-15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 cup natural nut butter of choice (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.)

  • 1/2 cup applesauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour

  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) in a blender and pulse until smooth.

3. Add batter to a lined loaf pan and fold in the chocolate chips.

4. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Remember, incorporating adequate amounts of protein into your day offers a multitude of benefits that contribute to your overall well-being. From supporting muscle growth and repair to aiding in weight management and boosting metabolism, protein’s importance cannot be overstated. The above tips are all ways to make small tweaks in your day without having to complete an entire lifestyle overhaul. I hope these tips empower you to make mindful dietary choices that have you feeling your very best!

Have questions about protein or want more guidance adding this into your daily diet? Book a free intro with our team so we can help you!



 

Stay Fueled

 

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