How much protein do we need to consume?
As a general rule the optimum amount of protein for weightloss is around 30% of your daily calorie intake so if you were consuming 1800 cals per day you should look to eat around 135grams of protein. Research also indicates that if you want to gain muscle you should be consuming around 1 gram of protein for every 1lb of body weight.
It can seem daunting trying to accommodate all this protein especially if like me you are not a huge meat eater.
Here are 8 easy (chicken free) ways to get more protein in to your diet.
- Smaller portions throughout the day – Try splitting your protein requirements up and aim to eat small amounts of protein at every meal even the snacks. Eating approx 25 grams of protein 5 times a day is much easier than trying to eat 125 grams in just 2 or 3 main meals.
- Protein Shakes -Obviously the most convenient way to get a quick hit of 25 grams of protein is in the form of a protein powder. I usually have mine as a shake (as my morning snack) but you can literally get protein powder into anything. Think protein smoothies, protein oats, protein pancakes and even protein in your baked goods. click here to read more about the benefits of protein supplements
- Protein Bars – The second most obvious choice (although not neccesarrily the healthiest, due to their artificial ingredients and usually high sugar content) are protein/energy bars. Despite their drawbacks they are fuss free and readily available pretty much everywhere and some of them are down right treatworthy and delicious, when warmed in the microwave and eaten as a gooey, fudgey, chocolatey protein pudding
- Beans means protein – Edamame beans to be precise. Add these protein packed pods as a side dish to any meal. or eat them as a super fresh, clean and healthy snack. Just one cup of pods equates to approx 15grams of protein.
- Go with the Greeks – Fage ( pronounced Fay-eh) total Greek yoghurt. This high protein low calorie all natural yoghurt can give you a whopping 23 grams of protein per serving. It’s the thickest, creamiest, yummiest stuff you’ve ever seen or tasted and you can substitute it for mayo, cream, crème fraiche, sour crème. Dollop it on your oats or pancakes, have it with fruit and honey. The possibilities are endless. It also worth noting that natural Greek yoghurt is suitable for those of us who are lactose intolerant. Thanks to its live cultures and helpful bacteria it’s the perfect probiotic for a healthy tum.
- Pasta is not just a carb – We all love the comfort of pasta dishes such as spaghetti Bolognese but lots of people tend to shy away from the large serving of Carbohydrates (pasta) that comes with it. Thankfully now a carb is no longer just a carb. The easiest fuss free way to pack your pasta full of protein is to use high protein wholewheat pasta. ( I get mine in my local supermarket) and a regular 75g portion now gives you nearly 17g protein before you’ve even added the meat sauce. If you can’t readily get hold of a protein pasta or prefer a more whole food approach. You can substitute it for quinoa instead. This Fluffy and filling seed is also a superfood to boot and is known and loved for it’s for its high protein content ( around 8g per cup).
- Don’t forget your breakfast. Sneak protein into your breakfast with eggs.
Adding egg whites to your oatmeal/porridge is a super easy way to boost the protein properties of your first meal of the day. Egg whites are also great because they add lots of volume without adding calories and it’s so easy you can even make it in the microwave.
- Use a 1/3 cup of oats, cover with water.
- Microwave for one minute.
- Add egg whites (start with two and see how you like it you can always add more next time)
- Microwave for 2 minutes – ish (don’t over cook as no-one want hard boiled egg oats.)
- Stir and add you choice of flavouring (I like cinnamon, or honey and cocoa powder)
- Add a topping.
If you really can’t face egg whites in your oats, I have also discovered some fuss free high protein porridge sachets from a UK company called Mornflake. So either way you can be sure to start your day with a protein packed punch.
- Cheese please. Cheese is a great source of protein and can be every fitties dream if you choose the low fat variety and are clever with your portion control. The sweet and savoury combination of Cheese and grapes makes a delicious portable protein snack packing in around 7 grams of protein for 1 ounce of cheese and six grapes.
So that’s what I’ve got so far in the fuss free protein options, (that doesn’t involve a chicken breast ha!) What about you? Got any clever or easy ways to get more protein into your diet? Add them to the list in the comments below I’d love to hear them.