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Protein is one of the vital nutrients your body needs to survive, and if you are interested in increasing your strength and exercise on a regular basis, then you have an even greater need to ensure your diet is high on protein.
Sure, you can use protein powders to boost your protein intake, but there are many natural ways of increasing your protein intake as well.
Why is Protein so important?
What makes protein so important to the growth and development of muscle tissue is that it is formed from amino acids.
Amino acids are the basic building blocks of your entire body, your very muscle is formed from protein and you need to feed it protein to grow, strengthen and repair.
The body synthesises many of the amino acids itself, but there are 9 essential amino acids that need to ingest so the body can utilise them.
Foods that contain protein can be divided into two groups, those that provide us with complete proteins and those that contain incomplete proteins.
Foods that contain complete proteins are foods that contain all the 9 essential amino acid you need.
Complete protein foods include lean red meats, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese and most soy products.
Foods that contain incomplete proteins mean that they only provide you with some of the 9 essential amino acids that are needed.
To ensure you are getting all 9 amino acids, you should combine two or more incomplete protein sources together in a single meal.
Foods that contain incomplete proteins include grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
It is also important to become aware of when you are eating your protein.
Protein is something the body needs to have readily available within the body. So it is a good idea to have protein with every meal, and with snacks.
Protein rich snacks
Make sure you have some healthy protein rich snacks ready for you to munch on during the day.
Healthy protein rich snack tips:
- Boiling a dozen eggs and keeping them in the refrigerator ready to eat is a great way to boost your protein intake.
- Fill a jar full of a mixture of nuts and seeds, for snacking on, and also for adding to your favourite salads.
- Drink a cup of low fat milk in the evening to give yourself an extra protein kick before bed. (Because this is when your body is repairing and building itself!)
- Have a plate of cheese pieces and lean sandwich meat in the refrigerator, so that you can snack on these during the day.
- Tinned tuna is a fantastic snack to boost your protein intake, and it comes in a variety of healthy flavour choices.
- Yogurt is another fantastic way of increasing your protein intake, and goes really well with a sprinkling of nuts and seeds.
- Edamame (boiled, salted soybeans) are a delicious, high protein snack choice, when you are out and about, and can be bought at most sushi stores.
Adding some of these snack suggestions to your day, as well as ensuring your meals are rich in complete proteins and combinations of incomplete proteins, will increase your protein intake naturally.