In health, nutrition, and fitness you will achieve the best results by focusing on the basics.
The basics are:
-Get 8 hours of sleep
-Eat mostly whole foods that you know are good for you
-Be active daily
-Spend quality time with people you care about
Each of these can and will look different for each of us.
For today’s topic of protein in the diet, we will zoom in on one of the details. But remember, this is a detail in a larger topic.
Protein in food is great! It helps you build muscles, hair, skin, all sorts of stuff. It is one of the essential nutrients we acquire from food. Protein can also help you feel satisfied for longer after a meal. Protein rich foods in nature usually come packed with many other nutrients.
So how much do we need and where to find this great stuff? Read on.
Why do we need it?
You may have heard that our bodies are mostly water. This is true. As far the structure that holds us up and makes us strong, that is mostly due to bone and protein. The proteins in our bodies are largely responsible for keeping our bodily functions running smoothly.
Each day some of our structures wear out and need to be replaced. This means that we have a daily requirement of protein to thrive.
In addition, exercise stimulates our body to build more muscle. That also requires more protein.
All of this summed up means we need some protein regularly.
How much protein do we need?
A general rule of thumb is to consume your body weight multiplied by 0.8 or 1.0 in grams of protein per day. This could be based off of your ideal body weight. You could also choose to eat a little more or a little less, but this is a good general place to start.
For example, a 150 pound person could eat 150 grams of protein per day.
Where do I find all this protein?
If you are new to looking at this, you may have to start reading food labels or using an app like Myfitnesspal (free) to track your protein intake.
But what foods are good sources of protein? This is an area where you can find many differing opinions. If you eat along the lines of a plant based diet, you will be excluding animal sources. Otherwise, animal sources of protein are a great place to focus. All sorts of meat, eggs, and dairy (if no allergy) are great sources of protein.
In addition, these animal products tend to provide many other useful nutrients.
Consider the egg, nature’s multivitamin and full of protein and useful fats.
Eat protein to get and stay lean
Protein tends to be quite satiating. This means that higher protein foods can help you feel full for longer. If your goal is to lose some body fat, eating plenty of protein is your ally.
Another way to put it is, if you are eating 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight, you likely will not have much extra appetite for other stuff, like donuts. For me, eating plenty of protein rich foods helps to stave off cravings for junk foods.
Practically, how to use this info?
Build your meals around protein rich foods. Generally this means, choose any meat, and make that the staple of your meal. Or it could be eggs, or a plant source.
The point is to prioritize the protein rich foods in your meal, then fill in the rest with fruits and vegetables and maybe a starch.
Breakfast: Eggs! With a side of fruit and mixed nuts
Lunch: Pork loin chop with your favorite roasted vegetables
Dinner: Salmon salad with a side of rice
That is it! Go forth and prosper!
If you would like to talk to a coach about optimizing your nutrition, schedule a No Sweat Intro and we can get started!