Protein is a macronutrient that serves as a building block for muscles and plays a major role in muscle growth and recovery. This macronutrient function in tissue synthesis, maintains growth, and regulates body processes. Sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, and legumes. The RDA for normal protein intake is 10-15% of your overall diet or 0.8 grams per kilogram (g/kg) of bodyweight, while a high-protein diet can range up to 2.2g/kg.
A high-protein diet is a shown to be an effective method for weight-loss, as well as building muscle. Since protein takes longer to digest, it can help keep you fuller for longer. If you are not eating enough protein, you may notice muscle loss, muscle atrophy, slow bone healing, bone weakness, fractures, and even osteoporosis.1 If you notice any of these signs or if you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle, recovery from injury; the answer may be to eat more protein in your diet!
Whether your goal is to gain muscle, loss fat, recover from injury, or simply to add more protein to your snacks, you may just need to eat more protein. Here are 5 easy tricks to eat more protein…
5 Easy Tricks to Eat More Protein
1. Add a lean source of protein to each meal
Lean sources of protein include: skinless chicken/turkey/Cornish hen, lean pork/steak, Canadian bacon, all fish, egg whites and low or non-fat dairy. These are good sources of protein because they are lower in fat than less lean sources of protein (ex: whole eggs, sausage, peanut butter). Try to limit these high fat protein sources to 1-3x/ due to their high fat and cholesterol content.
2. Eat a palmful of protein at each meal
Butter Bean’s Kitchen
The recommended serving size of protein is about 3 ounces, or roughly the size of your palm. This is a great tool to use- because you’ll always have this tool “handy”! If you are trying to follow a high-protein diet, you can use your whole hand (palm and fingers), which is roughly 6 ounces.
3. Find new high-protein recipes to inspire you
Find new high-protein recipes that showcase a lean source of protein at each meal for inspiration. For example, LuvRecipes offers tons of recipes featuring chicken breasts, BodyBuilding features a handful of creative protein ideas, or check out our own recipes index! If you just want to alter an existing recipe, you can double the portion size of the protein source and/or exchange the protein source for a leaner protein source.
4. Include some protein in your snacks
Add a source of protein to your normal snack! The best way to include some protein in your snacks is by using non-perishable options, such as nuts, peanut butter, or a protein bar. Non-perishable protein options are great because you can keep them in your bag without worrying about food going bad without refrigeration.
Some other great protein-snack options include: cottage cheese with fruit, yogurt and granola, pretzels and cheese, turkey and cheese roll ups, peanut butter and celery, nuts and fruit, or hard-boiled eggs.
5. Sneak in protein in unexpected places
Egg-white oatmeal recipe by Nutritious Foodie (Maggy Boyd)
The best way to eat protein is to sneak it in to convenient places! Sneaky protein options include protein powder, egg-whites, and low or non-fat dairy sources, which can all be incorporated to meals without a significant change in taste.
Protein powder can be seamlessly added to smoothies, yogurt parfaits, or overnight oats. Another favorite is adding egg-whites to meals such as egg-white oatmeal, protein-pancakes, or omelet.
To make sure you are eating enough protein(or not too much), calculate your protein requirements (0.8g/kg as the minimum and 2.2g/kg as the maximum) and track at least 3 days of eating in a food-tracking app (such as MyFitnessPal). If your protein intake falls within 10-15% of your total macronutrients or between 0.8-2.2g/kg, then you are doing great with you protein intake! If you are below or under this amount, make the proper adjustment by increasing or decreasing your protein intake.
These 5 easy tricks to eat more protein will help increase your overall protein intake in your day! By increasing your protein intake now, you may potentially lose weight, gain muscle, recover faster, and/or stay fuller longer. This week try to add a lean source of protein to each meal, eat a palmful of protein at each meal, find new high protein recipes to inspire you, include protein in your snacks, and sneak in protein in unexpected places.