A popular question we get asked is “how much protein should I be consuming daily?”
The amount of protein you should be consuming varies depending on each person.
The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) recommends that individuals 19 and older should be receiving 0.8 grams of protein per each kilogram of bodyweight every day.
That’s really low, and if you’re working out regularly, you shouldn’t be afraid to incorporate a lot more.
The minimum that weightlifters should be taking in is 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight; more is fine, less is not optimal.
Your body needs protein to properly function – but also to build muscle.
Are you getting enough protein?
If you’re struggling to get enough into your current diet then we’re to help.
The following ways for how to add more protein to your meals give you sneaky yet effective ways to ensure your diet is on track.
With these protein-packed tips and you’ll be increasing your muscle mass efficiently and effectively.
1) Protein Shakes
A lot of fitness people love having their daily protein shakes because it’s an easy – and delicious way to add protein to your diet daily. Depending on what your favourite flavour is, you can buy protein in a variety of flavours. Try it in the standard flavours of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, or go for something dessert-like such as cookies and cream or chocolate fudge brownie.
Protein shakes are ideal as a meal replacement or if you’re late for lunch and are in need of a quick snack. Try a whey protein or a dairy free protein powder made from pea protein or brown rice, for example.
Some prefer to drink their shake in the morning, but it’s also a good idea to drink a protein shake within 30 minutes to two hours after your workout. A protein shake will help repair muscles that are being worked out a lot and will also help them feel better from all that soreness.
With a variety of protein shakes on the market, there is one to suit your needs. Whether you are vegan, lactose intolerant or just prefer a more natural shake, there is one for everybody.
2) Incorporate Protein Ingredients in Recipes
Try incorporating ingredients such as chickpeas, quinoa, kidney beans, nuts and low-fat dairy products in your recipes whenever possible. If you know a recipe quite well then you should have no problem subbing out one product for another. Protein ingredients can also be added in on their own if you can’t take away from the original recipe.
We suggest adding cashew nuts to chicken curry recipes, they don’t affect the taste but are a great way of adding extra protein. Use natural greek yoghurt as the base for your sauce where possible.
Or, add kidney beans to fajitas, we do this often and we barely notice they are there. We think they work best with beef fajitas, but try chicken if you prefer chicken.
3) Add Protein Powder to Morning Oatmeal
If you’re a morning oatmeal eater, then it’s super easy to sprinkle a tablespoon of protein powder on your breakfast, or whatever the daily recommended amount is for the powder you’re using.
If your not a fan of oatmeal, try something different. Overnight oats are becoming a hit for foodies. Layer oats, greek yoghurt and fruit in a jar and leave overnight so they are ready for breakfast, then, in the morning, stir and top with fresh fruit. Adding flaxseeds or chia seeds would be a great option here too.
Or, just have a protein shake alongside your breakfast this will definitely suppress your appetite and up your protein game.
4) Side Dishes Should Have Protein too!
Protein does not only have to be your main dish, such as the delicious meat, fish or eggs you’re about to eat. A side dish can include protein too!
Try incorporating grains, beans, greens of course, and plenty of legumes and chickpeas to your side salad and veggies.
Make dipping sauces out of greek yoghurt and fresh herbs to give your dish extra flavour.
5) Creamy Greek Yogurt
Do you like Greek yoghurt? If you don’t, then you definitely should learn to like it! This yoghurt may be a bit sour, but it’s packed full of protein. Just one cup of this stuff has 23 grams of protein! If you don’t like eating Greek yoghurt by itself, substitute it for milk, cream cheese, sour cream, and even mayo in a recipe.
Greek yoghurt with fresh berries and ground seeds makes the perfect filling breakfast. Natural Greek yoghurt is packed with protein and tastes great with fruit.
6) Try Quinoa Instead of Rice
Skip the rice and instead try quinoa. It’s packed full of protein, and it’s also versatile, making it ideal to eat during any meal. Add it to pancake batter, use it for your next sushi meal, and make a quinoa and veggie meal – it’s super healthy and yummy too!
This supergrain is packed full of protein and fiber, around one cup contains 28 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber.
Quinoa works great in salads too, providing fullness and protein when you need it. You are sure to miss the hunger pangs an hour after eating a salad if it has quinoa in.
7) Ditch the Butter and Try Avocado Instead
Avocados are much better than butter, and they are tastier too (well, in our opinion that is). An avocado has a ton of protein and is also high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help you lose weight!
Avocados contain the good fats our bodies need, omega-3 and are packed full of fiber and vitamins A, C and E and potassium.
They contain around 4 grams of protein which makes them the fruit with the highest protein content.
8) Try Different Meats
Yes, it’s true that chicken and broccoli are usually the go-to meal, but it won’t hurt to switch up your meats during meals.
Don’t make it a chore when it comes to eating, vary your meals to make it easier to stick with.
There are many other lean proteins available such as lobster, shrimp, and fish. Turkey and pork loin are a few other options. Enjoy the flavour while getting plenty of protein.
Lean ground beef is a great option too, make sure it is at least 90% lean.
With so much variety of lean meats and fish, it should become easier to meal prep and stay on-track with your high-protein diet. Adding herbs and spices to meats gives so much taste and flavour too.
Try adding piri-piri seasoning to a whole chicken, stuff 1/2 a lemon inside the chicken and slow-cook it for 3-4 hours. The lemon keeps the chicken juicy whilst the peri-peri seasoning gives the chicken a whole new taste. (Always make sure the chicken is fully cooked before consuming!)
9) Eat More Tofu
If you’re a tofu lover, then you should eat more of it! Believe it or not, tofu is easy to add to existing recipes such as desserts and even dips.
There are around 8 grams of protein per 100 grams of tofu, so mixing it with other high-protein foods would be even better.
Try making shrimp and tofu peanut butter noodles, it is an easy dish to make and is packed full of protein.
10) Go Nuts!
It’s true when they say that nuts are packed full of protein because they are!
Obviously, nuts should be eaten in moderation due to the high-fat content they have, but they’re great if you want a protein fueled snack. Almonds have 6 grams of protein in one ounce and cashews follow right after with 5 grams. So eat up!
Or, try seeds, they are easy to add to meals and not even notice they are there. Flaxseeds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds are a great alternative to nuts.
There are around 5 grams of protein per ounce of pumpkin seeds, which is the same as some nuts.
Flaxseeds and chia seeds go great in smoothies and yoghurt, whereas pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds add crunch to salad and veggies.
11) Cottage Cheese Makes a Great Snack
If you can eat dairy, one cup of low-fat cottage cheese has an insane amount of protein – 28 grams to be precise!
It works as a delicious snack and also as an ingredient to some of your main dishes. Enjoy this snack while getting plenty of protein simultaneously.
Add cottage cheese to pasta recipes to make it creamier, or try it in smoothies.
Cottage cheese also tastes great mixed with pancake batter, you can’t go wrong with pancakes. Top them with an extra dollop of cottage cheese and fruit and enjoy!
Benefits of Protein
Protein is so important when it comes to diet, even if you are vegetarian or vegan, you need to get your fair share of protein each day.
Protein is known to help us feel fuller for longer, helping to cut cravings and bad food, especially in the evenings. A high-protein diet will keep your hunger at bay, this can be a reason why some weightlifters struggle to reach their daily protein targets, they get to a point where they are ‘forcing it down’.
But why bother?
Well, protein is the key to building muscle mass and strength. It forms the building blocks of muscles, so without it, weightlifters and bodybuilders would struggle to gain mass.
In fact, anybody who is physically active, lifting weights or has targets of building muscle or looking leaner, will need to ensure they eat a decent amount of protein each day.
Maintaining a high-protein diet will also help towards losing muscle mass when cutting or losing weight. A high-protein diet can also help people maintain a healthy weight and keep the weight off for good.
Protein is also healthy for the bones, even animal protein. It has been proven that people who eat more protein tend to maintain their bone mass as they get older, preventing fractures and lowering the risk of osteoporosis.
Protein boosts metabolism and promotes fat burning, it is believed protein has a higher thermic effect, 20-35%, then carbohydrates, 5-15%. The thermic effect is the body using energy, or calories, to digest and make use of the nutrients.
Protein is Important – Make Sure to Eat Plenty
Now you know the recommended daily intake of protein, and what is suggested for anybody who is active, you should focus on incorporating more protein into your diet.
With so many benefits of consuming more protein, you’d be nuts not too.
Try some of the suggestions above and let us know what you think. Protein doesn’t have to be bland, get creative.