Are you eating enough protein? Not eating enough protein is a common problem, especially for women, and one that could make a drastic difference in your physical appearance and hunger level. That’s why eating adequate protein for weight loss and muscle is my next fit tip.
Fit Tip #22: Eat More Protein to Lose Weight & Build Muscle
Protein is an incredibly important nutrient for both weight loss and muscle gain. It is full of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle and essential for repair after a tough workout. Protein is also very satiating, meaning it helps to keep you full. If you eat a bowl of cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, or start your day with a piece of toast, yet feel full again just 1-2 hours later, the problem is that you’re not eating protein! Most meals should have around 20 grams of protein, depending on how many meals you eat and your daily nutrient needs. (Note: If you’re not sure how much to be eating daily, contact me for nutrition coaching!) So, if you were to add eggs to your morning meal, or have a protein shake along with your toast, you’ll probably find that your stomach doesn’t start rumbling for many more hours. And of course, the less hungry you are, the less you’ll consume, helping to reduce your weight.
A general guideline is to eat about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be eating around 130-150 grams of protein. This will vary slightly per person, and depends on goals, body type, and how intense your weight lifting sessions are. You can eat less than this, but it’s a good guideline and starting point.
Now, where do you find protein?
The best sources of healthy protein are:
- Organic chicken breast
- Grass fed beef
- Non-farm raised fish & seafood
- Organic eggs
- Raw cheeses
- Greek yogurt
- Non-gmo tofu
- Protein shakes (whey protein isolate or organic vegan versions)
- Nuts/nut butters
- Vegetables such as peas, edamame, broccoli, asparagus, mung bean sprouts
How to Add Protein to Your Diet
Make sure you add protein to every meal – some eggs at breakfast, protein shakes after workouts, chicken on your lunch salad, Greek yogurt and almonds for a snack, steak or fish at dinner as some examples. If you’re a vegetarian, you can also use food combining to get adequate protein, like mixing rice and beans. It can be helpful to always carry a small container of almonds, or take some hard boiled eggs with you on busy days for quick and easy sources of protein. From time to time, a quality protein bar can also be a helpful option to have on hand. Just don’t rely on protein bars daily since they are a more processed form of food, and unprocessed food is the best for weight loss!