It’s easy to get carried away with the latest fads and trends you see in dietary magazines and online. It’s important to go back to the basics, the science that is.
According to many scientific studies, it has been observed that higher protein diets inevitably lead to a diet with a far greater fat loss process and a high probability of maintaining a lean mass. Diets which are poor in protein don’t fare better.
If you want to build muscle mass and experience strength gains then your diet needs to be full of protein, its as simple as that.
Here are 5 tried-and-tested strategies that are so simple yet so effective that you will be left wondering why you didn’t try them all before to make your lifestyle more fulfilling and protein-based.
Let’s get started on how to determine the optimum level of protein you can consume on a daily basis:
How much Protein should you consume?
According to the Dietary Reference Intakes, for individuals above the age of 19, it is recommended to have about 0.8 g of protein for every kg in weight, every single day that is, in order to keep your body keeps functioning smoothly.
For an athlete, this figure can go as high as 1.3 g to 1.8 g of protein per kg of body weight according to a study published in the Journal of Sports Science.
Protein intake levels need to be a lot more for folks who do resistance training and high endurance activities. This is because these activities expend energy fast and the body needs to adapt to the challenges a taxing physical activity places on it.
Protein can synthesise new muscles which can better respond to this challenge. Elevated protein consumption can also help prevent muscle loss.
Protein intake, as we have seen, takes some math. But it also takes some thought too, which is why it’s important to know how to decide which category you fall into.
When starting out, you may feel you are not eating as much protein as you could. This is because you think that ingesting 100 or so grams of protein is not possible in the meals you have in our regular day.
The good news is that it is possible and it only takes a little bit of planning to do so.
Start by incorporating protein into every meal and snack you have throughout the day.
Suppose you weigh 150 pounds and want to preserve your muscles as you work on restricting the number of calories you consume. You should eat as much as 140 g of proteins in this scenario.
Breaking these 140 g of calories into six meals a day might help your protein intake plan better: 23 g for every meal is doable and manageable.
If you are still unsure of how to get 23 g of proteins in your body, here are 5 easily implementable ways that you can get them into your daily habits:
#1: Plan Ahead and Stay Prepared
Just because you are busy all the time doesn’t mean it’s a valid excuse for your lack of a good protein diet.
With just a bit of preparation, you can have access to protein meals consistently and for a longer period of time, say a week.
You can have some meals made up and packed for a start.
There’s no need for you to become a full-on meathead when you can just eat out of Tupperware by way of some tiny snacks and lunches throughout a day.
Eating protein in bits or in one go, it’s totally up to you and you lifestyle requirements.
#2: Swapping Out Snacks Is a Great Idea
Cookies, crackers, pretzels are all high carb foods we are all too fond of munching. But what if we had some non-refrigerated snacks like these too, except more rich in protein?
Whether you are going on a road trip or just want some snacks handy, it’s a good idea to have a cooler and pack some real food.
If that’s not an option, you can always go for nuts and jerky and other high-quality protein bars instead.
You can also go for non-perishable protein snacks, with this change alone subtracting added sugars from your diet.
Insulin isn’t released into the bloodstream and hence there are no carb-to-fat conversion processes going on. You need fibre-rich foods that can arrest the functions of insulin and let proteins do the trick.
#3: Go Greek or Go Home
You know what’s packed to the brim with protein goodness? Greek yogurt, that’s what.
Just one cup of plain Greek yogurt possesses 23 g of protein, enough for one meal.
So, the next time you are thinking of having your usual daily dairy snack, have a bowl of great Greek yogurt instead.
This yogurt has a slightly sour taste and can be used as a great substitute for cream, milk, cream cheese, mayo and sour cream.
#4: Protein Powder Is a Great Power Booster
Forget shaking up some protein powder with some milk or water, there’s so much more you can do with it.
Heck you can even use it for baking too. You can scoop some of it into your morning oatmeal and make a chocolate crumb crust out of it.
Protein powder is accessible and it’s always there when you want to add more flavour to your diets as well as proteins.
#5: Meat Is To Be Mixed Up
Meat is a great source of protein. You can keep all your taste buds satisfied and enjoy a great meal with all sorts of meat varieties and flavours.
Consider going for some fish, shrimp and lobster too. They are all great for some lean protein.
Tired of chicken breast? Then perhaps some turkey breast and pork loin will do. Beef and lamb are not bad if you are looking to get some more flavours from your meals. All of these are great protein sources.
Mixing the meats up can help you on those days when you just want something different to eat without disrupting your protein intake.