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HOW TO EAT MORE PROTEIN

You’ve probably heard it before, so how do we make it happen?

Speaking in generalities, it’s VERY difficult to overdo it with protein, especially if you’re an active person. The amount of protein each person needs will vary depending on their goals and activity levels, but let’s cast a wide net and assume you’re the average Joe (or Jane). You do your best to hit the gym a few times per week because you want some more muscle definition, and if you’re being honest you could stand to lose a few pounds.

So as a moderately to very active person, your body is going to require adequate protein to hit your goals. For most, you should aim for .7 to 1.0+ grams (g) of protein per pound of bodyweight, with .7 being the absolute minimum. This means that if you weigh 200lbs you should shoot for 140-200+g per day. If you’re a bit smaller and weigh 140lbs, strive to consume anywhere from 98 to 140g+ per day. 

Ok, that’s a lot of numbers. If you have questions about how much you personally should consume, shoot us an e-mail and we can help you out! Otherwise, let’s just focus on consuming a little more protein than we currently are, because that’s how you start seeing results.

The easiest way to increase your protein intake is to just have larger portions of what you’re already consuming, with an emphasis on foods that are dense in protein and not loaded with carbs or fat. For example, cheese and peanut butter both have some protein, but relative to the amount of fat they possess they are not the best options for most people looking to add muscle or trim down. Eat these in moderation.

Try this: if you already have eggs in the morning, pour in an additional ½ cup of egg whites from a carton for an additional 13 grams! Or double it for 26 grams with no extra carbs! This large dose of protein early in the morning helps fend off hunger and keeps you feeling satisfied as you begin your day.

For a mid-morning snack you can always reach for some greek yogurt (14g), Icelandic skyr (17g) or these awesome greek yogurt drinks by Pillars which are loaded with 18-20 grams depending on the flavor. Be sure to monitor the amount of added sugar in the flavored yogurts. Some sugar is okay, but just be aware of all the sugar that appears in other foods throughout the day.

Lunchtime is a great opportunity to get a jump on your intake, since lean meats like chicken and turkey are super dense in protein. 5oz of chicken breast will provide a whopping 43g, and the same amount of 99% fat free ground turkey will deliver a healthy 32g. With this much protein just add some veggies to your plate and you’re crushing your lunch break!

Afternoon snack? No problem, reach for a shake but keep this in mind: when trying to hit your targets, it’s preferable to source your protein from less-processed foods, but using a protein supplement like a powder is perfectly okay in moderation (one per day). This protein powder delivers 20g of protein per scoop, but feel free to give yourself a scoop and a half to bump it up to 30g if needed. Mix with water or almond milk, or blend frozen fruit to make a smoothie!

Treat dinner time much like you would lunch, by having just a little bit more protein than you normally would. Fish is a phenomenal source of protein and nutrients, as a 5oz serving of salmon clocks in at 26 grams, and if you bump that up to a 6oz filet you’re suddenly up to 32 grams. 

Nutrition can sound complicated, but the principles are actually quite simple. One of those principles states that your body requires protein, and the reality is most people are not getting enough. If you’re trying to get fit, lose weight, build muscle, etc., consuming adequate protein might just be the factor holding you back from reaching your goals.

Ativo offers 1:1 Nutrition coaching to help you dial in your habits so you can eat, train, and live a sustainable lifestyle. Book your “No Sweat” intro or shoot us an e-mail to learn more.

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