Last month I wrote about supporting a healthy metabolism and some of the metabolism busters that we can fall into, one of which is not eating enough protein. I personally noticed that I wasn’t meeting the protein mark in my own diet. I made a few small adjustments to increase my protein intake and noticed some significant changes in how I felt throughout my day. In talking with members of my gym, adequate protein consumption is a more common problem that we often realize, so today I want to talk about getting more protein into our daily intake.
There are several reasons why eating enough protein is important.
If you have a weight loss goal, adding more protein to your daily meals could put you over the top in terms of overall calorie intake, so we sometimes need to reassess what we’re leaning towards at mealtime, particularly those on the go meals and snacks. Having a few options to get us on the right track can help us hit the ground running, so here are a couple of ways to increase your protein intake without blowing out your calorie intake:
Make sure to start your day with a protein packed breakfast. Breakfast is one of those meals that can be low on protein particularly if you start your day with a bowl of fruit or a smoothie, plus we often want breakfast to be easy and on the go. Getting more protein at breakfast time is super easy if you put your mind to it. Here are some ideas:
Enjoy protein rich salads for lunch or dinner. I love salads for lunch, but sometimes they’re just not filling enough to keep me going all day, and that’s because they don’t contain enough protein. Salads are also a great option for dinner especially on those hectic nights where you get home late or are short on time. Here’s a quick and easy way to spruce up your salad options without it consuming too much time and being sure to pack on the protein.
Make sure your snacks are packed with protein. Eating consistently throughout the day is one of our Habits for Massive Impact. Planning for a nutrient dense snack in between our main meals will help us avoid the hunger zone that can lead to feelings of desperation at meal time, resulting in eating what’s convenient, snacking while preparing dinner, or shoveling it in so fast that we eat past the point of feeling full. It also provides another opportunity throughout the day to get some extra protein into our diet. Here are a few of my favorite high protein / low calorie go-to snacks that are balanced with energy packed carbohydrates:
So how much protein should I be eating anyway? A good rule of thumb is to get 1g of protein for each pound of body weight. If you’re currently overweight this may result in an inflated protein target, so you may want to consider your protein intake relative to your calorie intake instead. Last month I included a TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculator so that you can use it to figure out how many calories you should be eating to maintain a healthy weight and metabolism. If you’re using calories as your guide you want to eat 30-40% of your calories in the form of protein. Here’s some simple math to help you figure it out. If you are consuming 1600 calories per day, then 30% of 1600 is 480 calories from protein. Each gram of protein contains 4 calories, so that means that your protein target is 120g of protein (480 calories / 4).
As you’ve learned in this blog, getting enough protein into your diet will help boost your metabolism, increase your energy levels, help you recover after exercise, and provide more flavor and fun to your meals. I hope that these ideas help to inspire you to add more protein to your diet and feel your very best!
Do you feel like you could use some extra support with your health & fitness journey? We’re here to help! Our next KickStart program kicks off on Saturday, September 9th and we’d love to have you join us!
What’s the KickStart Program? It’s a 4-week program that rolls right into our Group Personal Training Program with tons of added support both inside & outside of the gym:
Learn more & register at www.wilcoxwellnessfitness.com/kickstart
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Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.