The main nutrient I see lacking in most people desiring weight loss or fat loss is protein. Here are some ways to be adding more of it into your diet today!
As a dietitian, I see a recurring issue with not only friends and family, but all of my 1-1 clients that are seeking fat loss or weight loss: not eating enough protein. With realizing that breaking down the importance of this and giving easy solutions is the one thing that really helps my clients reach their goals, I’m breaking it all down for you today too!
But before we go into simple, easy swaps and solutions for increased protein in your diet, let’s talk about…
Why is Protein Important?
Well, I broke down the importance of protein in this macronutrient series right here and when I talked about protein powders right here.
But all in all, protein is important because:
- It is a component of every cell in your body. In fact, hair and nails are mostly made of protein.
- Your body uses it to build and repair tissue.
- You need it to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals.
- It is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
How can you know if you’re getting enough?
Well the RDA for protein ranges from .8g of protein/kg of bodyweight up to 1.4-1.7g/kg in very active individuals. However, studies have shown that even when people ate all the way up to 4.0g/kg, there was no negative results. And the thing is, protein is one of the nutrients that take the longest to digest — so it can not only help us in building lean muscle mass, but it can keep us satisfied, longer.
Which bring me to the next thing ...
Benefits of Protein?
One is what I just mentioned, feeling more satisfied, longer.
Think about this: Have you ever had something for a meal/snack that is JUST a carbohydrate: toast, waffles, pancakes, pop tarts, high-sugar cereal… you feel pretty hungry quickly after, huh? Whereas if you have a balanced breakfast with added protein and healthy fats, you tend to feel full for a longer time – preventing you from overeating!
That’s why a higher protein diet — and simply making sure all meals and snacks (especially for active individuals/athletes), have a good dose of protein to them.
- It is GOOD for bone growth — despite some people thinking it’s bad for your bones (or kidneys, another myth, unless pre-existing problems are present).
- Speeding recovery after exercise
- Reducing muscle loss
- Building lean muscle
- Helping you maintain a healthy weight
- Curbing hunger/cravings
Protein Packed Snack Ideas
Since I’ve been talking about getting in more protein and making sure that your meals and snacks have some good protein in them, I wanted to share some of my go-tos in the snack category — because snacks seem to be the window of eating that many people struggle to find balanced, protein packed options. Because, well, midday carb and sweet attacks happen, am I right or am I right?
- Apple with low fat cheese stick
- Berries with greek yogurt (add a little kashi protein cereal or low sugar granola for more substance!)
- Grapes and low fat cheese cubes
- Protein Smoothie (I have a lot right here)
- Roasted Chickpeas or Edamame
- Turkey and cheese roll ups (or this cucumber roll up!)
- DIY Protein bars/bites/snacks — which brings me to….
my FAVORITE (and my fiancé’s new favorite)… HACKED SNACKS!
I’d love to say I eat only fresh, whole foods. But let’s be honest for a moment. I have little time. And most work days, it’s NOT realistic for me to neatly pack all my meals and snacks for the day. Some people it is. Not for this crazy busy girl haha. So that’s where snacks like this can realllllly help out. For me (and maybe you), it’s either something like this or nothing. These are a great option
Boy lemme tell you. You can basically not change up your snacking habits at all with these, yet have an alternative to your favorites in a balanced, protein packed way! They are a newer company I came across because of my good friend being friends with the owner… and my fiancé and I use them throughout almost EVERY day because of how busy we are. As much as we’d like to pack fresh, whole foods every day for snacking…it’s just NOT realistic most work days.
Insert Hacked Snacks protein popcorn, protein bites, and protein crispy treats.. all coming in 4 different flavors each. The best part? I used to have to order all 4 flavors and just order the general box of them all. But now you can customize the box for only your favorite flavors! #Winning, because B and I are HUGE sweet and salty popcorn people when it comes to their protein popcorn for movie night…and huge cinnamon roll flavor and chocolate PB flavor peeps when it comes to their protein bites.
Order every month. Order once every 3 months. Order just 1 time. It’s your call. But boy when I find a company I love, I like to share with all of you.
ps: No this is not a sponsored post by them. I do get a small percentage of each purchase, so I’d love for you to go through my link if you’d like to buy!
pps: Yes, my fiance B and I just finished the Harry Potter series. He couldn’t believe it when I told him I never saw any of them when we started dating.
So tell me when it comes to protein!
- Do you think you’re getting in enough protein?
- Which meal is hardest for you to get in that 15-30 grams of protein in?
- What’s your go to for fitting protein into your snacking?!
- If you try out this company, I’d love to hear your thoughts and favorite flavors once you try them!
Let’s stay FreshFitnHealthy together,