Protein is one of the key aspects of one's diet when it comes to maintaining good health. Protein is an essential macronutrient that comes from a variety of different foods. Now, everyone’s protein needs are different however, we can all benefit from getting more protein in our diets from all different kinds of foods!
What are some of the benefits of protein? First off, protein is a great way to achieve satiety. Incorporating more protein into your meals will make you feel more fulfilled for longer. Protein is also great for maintaining and gaining muscle mass. It also repairs muscles after a workout which is so important!
Here are five ways that you can incorporate more protein into your diet.
1. Dividing protein across your daily meals
It’s important to spread your protein intake throughout the day across meals. One reason for this is because no one wants to consume all their protein in one sitting. If you spread it out, your body will be able to use that protein more efficiently. It also makes it easier to consume different kinds of proteins which we will talk about in another point.
2. Find foods containing protein that appeal to you
When creating meals, you obviously want to incorporate foods that you enjoy. Food is such a great thing and making meals that appeal to you is so important. Tofu and tempeh are some of the highest plant-based sources however, you may not like tofu or tempeh. That’s okay! Instead, try making a meal with other plant-based proteins like beans, edamame, or seeds/nuts. Fish also has a lot of protein but not everyone likes fish. That is also okay! Try including more chicken, eggs, or turkey into your meals.
3. Pairing protein with carbs and fats
When consuming protein, it is also important to pair it with carbs and fats to make sure you feel the most satisfied! Including this combination in your diet will also help balance blood sugar levels because it slows down the digestion of the carbohydrates. An easy way to do this is to possibly add a little protein powder to your milk and cereal and top it off with some berries or peanut butter.
4. Try incorporating protein shakes
Let’s be honest. Protein shakes are so convenient to drink when wanting a snack or if you’re just lacking in protein intake for the day. They keep you full and can be pretty delicious as well. Premade shakes are yummy however, I like to make my own every once in a while to make sure I’m getting everything I need. Some key ingredients in my protein shakes include almond milk, protein powder, berries, (sometimes) spinach, peanut butter, and chia and/or hemp seeds. The great thing about homemade protein shakes is that you can customize and put whatever you want into it!
5. Include plant and animal proteins
There’s this thing called “protein complementation” and it’s basically where you combine incomplete proteins together to get adequate amounts of essential amino acids. Plant sources proteins tend to be lower quality protein sources and animal proteins tend to be higher quality. If you aren’t feeling animal protein for a meal, combining two plant proteins is a great way to maximize the benefits of that certain protein source. A good example of this would be combining beans and rice in a burrito bowl or adding peanut butter to your toast!
I hope you learned a thing or two on how to incorporate more protein in your diet moving forward!
Written by: Kaya, nutrition intern