The Many Pro’s Of Protein!
Protein is an essential building block for the healthy production of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. It is essential to our health to keep our metabolism running our energy flowing and blood sugar levels stable. We have been hearing more and more about protein for one fact – protein builds muscle, and muscle burns fat!
What Is It?
Proteins are long chains of amino acids. Amino acids are molecular compounds that are found in all types of food, but mainly meat, dairy, eggs and fish. There are 20 amino acids altogether, all acquired through different foods and food combinations.
Why Do We Need Protein?
Without diverse protein sources we run the risk of developing an amino acid deficiency. When a body doesn’t get enough amino acids it will suffer from low energy levels, low muscle mass, low concentration and bad memory, with mood swings, blood sugar difficulties and a risk of unhealthy weight gain/loss. Because specific proteins are constantly being used for so many different functions they are always being broken down and replaced. This is why getting a variety of proteins throughout the day is essential to our everyday functions.
Reduces Appetite & Hunger Levels
Because protein rich foods reduce our levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, it makes us feel fuller longer. By filling up on protein, you have less of a chance of filling up on carbs or fats.
Increases Muscle Mass
It is no secret that gym goers and athletes alike are fans of protein! This is because during high amounts of physical activity – like lifting weights – our bodies go into a catabolic (breaking down) state. Since protein is responsible for building muscle, when your body begins to use this energy, you are burning fat instead of your hard-earned muscle.
It’s Good For Your Bones
People who eat more protein tend to maintain their bone mass better with age. There are also less cases of osteoporosis and fractures. Eating plenty of protein and staying active is important for future bone health.
Boosts Metabolism. Increases Fat Burning
The Thermic Effect of Food is how the body uses energy/calories to digest and make use of the nutrients within the food. Where fat or carbs have a TEF of 5-15%, protein has 20-35%. This means that your body uses more energy to break down protein than fats or carbs, a real extra help when trying to get down to a healthy weight! Even if you are not trying to lose weight, but maintain a healthy weight, higher amounts of protein in the diet can reduce weight regain by 50%!
It Can Lower Blood Pressure
In several studies, a protein-focused diet has helped lower blood pressure and reduced LDL cholesterol. The reason? By eating quality protein instead of fats or carbs you are avoiding their possible effects completely!
How Much Protein Do We Need?
Different people require different amounts of protein. Factors like age, weight, gender and level of activity are all taken into account to determine the amount of protein you should be getting each day. For adults at an average weight and activity level, you could aim for:
- 56 grams per day for men
- 46 grams per day for women
And those are minimums! Another way to determine how much protein you should be getting daily is by multiplying your body weight by .5.
It is best to eat small amounts of protein throughout the day. This can be done by incorporating protein into your breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner.
Where To Get Your Protein
Who says leftovers aren’t delicious?! We make large servings at dinner in order to pack our lunches for the week! –>Last night we followed our leg workout with BBQ’d Chicken, zucchini & green salad, and made extra brown rice and steamed broccoli to add for lunches. Yum! #workweeklunch #protein #veggies #wholegrains #nutrition #fuel #mealprep #diet #fitnessgoals
Lucky for us, there are many many ways to hit your protein goals. These are our top 10 foods to turn to for protein when you need or want it!
- Greek Yogurt – 23 g per 8 oz. serving
- Swiss, Cheddar, Mozzarella & Parmesan Cheese – ~8 g per 1 oz. serving
- Eggs – 6 g per 1 large egg
- Almonds – 20 g per cup
- Steak, Pork Chops, Chicken Breast – ~23 g per 3 oz. serving
- Tuna, Halibut, Salmon – ~23 g per 3 oz. serving
- Black Beans – 39 g per cup
- Peanut Butter – 8 g per 2 tbsp
- Quinoa & Brown Rice – ~8 g per 1 cup serving
- Oats – 26 g per cup
Protein At Breakfast!
One of our favorite breakfasts happens to be rich in protein – eggs! Low calorie and high in protein, enjoy eggs with other protein foods (ham, turkey, sausage, cheddar cheese, quinoa) for an excellent protein punch in the morning.
When you need something no-fuss for the middle of a busy day or are just looking for a yummy snack, practically any combination of meat, cheese, nuts, seeds, or dairy can make help you hit your desired amount of protein!
Some snack ideas:
- Greek Yogurt With Granola & Berries
- Peanut Butter and Celery
- Cottage Cheese
- Hummus and Any Dip-able Veggies
- Turkey & Cheese Roll-Ups
- Granola or Protein Bar
Protein Packed Lunches!
It is our pleasure to say cold cuts are on the menu for this one! Salads, sandwiches or a carefully thought out bento-box are great ways to be sure you get what you need to hit your protein number at lunch time!
Protein At Dinnertime!
Most Americans get their protein at dinner anyway, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the whole meal protein packed! Add more protein to every meal by incorporating quinoa, black beans, peas, avocado, tofu, artichokes, eggs, broccoli and edamame whenever possible!
March 30, 2017