What would 2020 be if not for even more confusing information in the media around the ideal diet? You’ve likely heard of the vegan diet craze, fueled by Netflix documentaries and medical professionals chasing the fountain of youth. Or maybe you’ve been introduced to the vegan diets’ crazy cousin, the carnivore diet trend. Regardless, no one can seemingly agree on the proper role protein plays in weight loss, performance, or health.
Aside from it’s current reputation, let’s cover what we do know. Historically praised for it’s role in getting fitness competitors ‘jacked,’ protein carries many other unique benefits aside from aesthetic gains:
- Protein helps improve satiety (or feelings of fullness)
- Protein supports lean muscle maintenance. Building & maintaining lean muscle increases overall calorie expenditure throughout the day, even when we aren’t working out!
- Protein has been shown to help support recovery from exercise
- Protein can improve bone density.
Every muscle on the human body is made of protein, and in order to keep your metabolic engine running at optimum capacity, you better believe you want to do whatever you can to build & maintain lean muscle, which means devouring sufficient amounts of dietary protein EVERY. DAY. You with me?
What are the best sources of protein? Simply put, protein is found in animal meats – think grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, pork, eggs, and wild-caught fish. When in doubt, check the ingredients list. If there is anything other than the meat listed on the label, probably not a good choice (I’m talking about your plant-based options here with ingredient lists that sound like a chemistry lab. JUST SAY NO.)
How much protein should you be eating? While everyone’s protein needs are unique to their current metabolic situation and goals, a general rule of thumb is to aim for about 0.8-1g per lb of bodyweight or lean body mass. For example: a 5’8 140 lb lean female would aim for 140g of protein. A 5’8 170 lb overweight female might aim for 115-120g of protein.
Let’s take a look and see what a typical day of eating would need to look like to hit about 120 grams of protein:
- Breakfast: 2 Whole Eggs, 2 Egg Whites, 3 Turkey Sausage links
- Lunch: 4 oz salmon
- Dinner: 5 oz chicken
- Snack: Greek Yogurt
If you aren’t using these types of protein sources, or you have some meals that are lacking, target those first! Add an extra ounce of chicken to the salad you are already having at lunch. Add a protein shake with your morning coffee. Boil up some hard boiled eggs as an easy grab-and-go snack! The opportunities are there if you look for them.
As always, if you need help identifying your ideal nutrition plan that aligns with your current health situation & goals, get in touch with me through my ‘Coaching Services’ or “Contact’ page.