What is protein?
Proteins are the building blocks of life. Every cell in the human body contains protein. The basic structure of a protein is a chain of amino acids. You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. It fuels our cells and powers our bodies.
Why do we need protein?
- To build our muscles, bones, cartilage, and skin
- To repair tissue
- To carry oxygen throughout our body
- To aid in digestion
- & to regulate our hormones
When do I eat it and how much?
Itâ€™s best to spread out your protein intake throughout the day with about 25 – 30g per meal.
Another Tip: When eating a meal, eat your protein first, before getting to the starches! Protein increases the gut hormones that make you feel satisfied. This is why more protein-dense meals throughout your way will help you feel full and keep your blood sugar lower throughout the day.
Here are a few ways to get more protein into your everyday diet:
1) Add an egg to it!
One egg has about 6g of protein. It also contains all 9 essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Eating these complete proteins is important because those are the ones our body canâ€™t make by itself.
Ways to incorporate eggs into your everyday meals:
- Scramble them into your food like fried rice
- Top your plate/bowl with a runny fried egg
- Add a sliced boiled egg to your morning toast
- Add egg whites to your morning oatmeal like my high-protein egg white oatmeal
2) Protein-rich toppings
Iâ€™m a BIG fan of toppings on just about all my meals. If you follow me on Instagram, you know my style of eating is a big bowl or hash of a main protein, a few veggies, a carb of choice, and a ton of yummy toppings. Here are a few protein-rich toppings you can add to the top of your bowls:
- Nuts/Seeds: Almonds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pistachios
- Cheese: Cheddar, goat, gruyere, Monterey, swiss
- Boiled eggs
- Canned tuna
3) Meal prep in advance
When even a portion of your meal is prepared in advance for you, you are more likely to eat more of it! I have a ton of recipes with protein as the star that you can follow. Here are a few of my favorite ones with chicken in them:
- Salsa chicken & lentils
- Whole roasted chicken
- Indian marinated chicken thighs
- Shredded citrus chicken
- BBQ Chicken
Ground beef is another favorite of mine to always have on hand. I’ll cook some with mix it in with my scrambled eggs in the morning, make tacos for lunch, and maybe a spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner. Ground meat if the best and easiest ingredient to incorporate into your daily meals!
4) Add some Greek yogurt or bone broth
Any time a recipe calls for heavy cream, milk, or even mayo, I always add greek yogurt in place of it.
Any time a recipe calls for water or broth, I always add protein-rich bone broth instead.
Both of these are healthy, high-protein alternatives that can aid in increasing your protein content per meal. Just one serving of Greek yogurt can add about 18g of protein to your day. Bone broth also contains 10g of protein per 1 cup. This is even great for sipping at the end of the day!
5) Protein powder
Pick your favorite brand and add it to your coffee, smoothies, milkshakes, ice cream, bread, baked goods, pancakes, etc. Options are endless! Any time I’m making something sweet, I always add a few scoops of protein powder to the mix to get some extra g. Why not!?
I know sometimes (most of the time) it’s stressful to know what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it. I hope this post gives you somewhat of a better understanding of what protein is and why we need it.
I also found this cute chart online to help with measuring your ingredients: