Protein is of course one of the most important macronutrients we could ever wish to consume, and it plays a key role in a whole variety of different processes, both internally and externally within the human body. As far as a healthy and balanced diet is concerned, in order to get the most dramatic and noticeable results, you will need to stick with science as opposed to fad diets endorsed by Z-list celebrities that probably had liposuction or weight loss surgery to lose their weight anyways. We’re living in an age where fad diets are marketed as healthy, yet when you really think about it, how can processed powders combined with sugary and artificial preservatives and other additives truly replace wholesome food. Of course SOME of these products work well as supplements, if you go with the right product and use it to SUPPLEMENT your diet, rather than to replace whole food, but what about those of us who need to be consuming more protein than average? Bodybuilders, athletes, and physically active individuals in general all require more protein than average yet actually consuming enough each day is far more difficult than they may have at first envisioned. If you find yourself struggling to get enough protein inside of you, and want something other than just chicken breast or tinned tuna, here are five simple ways of getting more protein in your diet.
When you think about it, whether you eat larger meals and space them out over the day, or consume smaller meals every two or three hours, between each meal you probably still find yourself feeling a little peckish and may decide to snack as a result of this. The main problem with snacking is that we want something easy and convenient, preferably readymade so that we can eat it there and then, instead of messing around with prepping and cooking. The problem here is that many convenience snack foods tend to be heavily processed and rich in carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, and sugars, rather than arguably your most important macronutrient, which is protein. Another reason why most snacks are so unhealthy is that they don’t need to be refrigerated like high protein snacks do. If you find yourself feeling peckish, grab yourself a healthy and balanced high protein snack such as cottage cheese and mixed nuts for example. Going back to the refrigerator aspect, if you’re heading out for a few hours, you can still bring high protein snacks that need to be kept cool, you’ll just need to purchase a cool bag or portable cooler. Even if this isn’t possible, you can still consume high protein meat sources such as beef jerky, which doesn’t need to be kept cool at all. By swapping high carb snacks for high protein snacks, not only are you increasing your protein uptake, you’re also helping to regulate and control blood sugar levels, which could again help you to burn fat.
Prep and plan ahead
If you do find yourself struggling with the same high protein meals, day in and day out, you obviously need a little variety in your diet to help keep you on track and to help keep things interesting and enjoyable. If you set aside a couple of hours each weekend and prep a few different high protein meals in advance, you can then refrigerate them in Tupperware, or even freeze them and cook them from frozen during the week. By cooking different meals, you have different options for when you get home in the evening. For example, one evening you may have baked salmon, sweet potato mash, and spinach, whereas the next night could be a turkey mince chilli and rice etc. By taking the time to prep your meals, you make life that much easier for yourself during the week, which helps keep you on track and helps you to hit your daily macros.
Switch to Greek yoghurt
If you’re a fan of natural yoghurt, do yourself a favour and switch to natural Greek yoghurt instead. Greek yoghurt is far richer in protein than natural regular yoghurt, with one cup containing over 20 grams of protein on average. This yoghurt is deliciously smooth and creamy, and has a similar taste to soured cream, and so it can be substituted in place of soured cream, as well as for mayonnaise and creamed cheese in most other recipes too. For a high protein snack, add a handful of nuts to a cup of Greek yoghurt, perhaps a drizzle of honey, and enjoy.
Don’t forget your fish
When we think of protein, we tend to think of meat such as chicken turkey, and beef as prime examples. Whilst these meats are indeed great sources of protein, so too are various forms of fish and seafood, yet many people seem to overlook fish for some reason. One common misconception is that fish is expensive when in reality, many varieties of fish are even cheaper than regular chicken breast. Fish is rich in protein, amino acids, minerals, and in some instances, natural omega 3 fatty acids as well. Another great benefit of fish is that there are so many different varieties to choose from, and each one tastes so different and contains slightly different nutrients to the last. Just a few examples include: Cod, Haddock, Halibut, Tuna, Swordfish, Salmon, Hake, Lemon Sole, Turbot, Mackerel, and Sardines, but there are also so many more varieties it would take hours to list them all.
Embrace protein powders
As we mentioned earlier, powdered supplements should not be the emphasis of any dietary plan, no matter how healthy or beneficial they may be, but if used as intended, to supplement your diet with goodness alongside healthy and balanced foods, these supplements work a treat. To help you meet your daily protein macros, a protein shake or two, possibly even three, each day, will help you do just that, and it’s as simple as adding a couple of scoops to some milk or water, placing a lid on your shaker, giving everything a quick shake, and enjoying. Whey protein is ideal during the day but for late at night before going to bed, why not try a Casein protein shake instead, which will provide a slow and steady release of nutrients to your body as you sleep.