5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Protein Intake

5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Protein Intake

Key Takeaways

Protein is essential for muscle growth, recovery, satiety, and overall health, making up 42% of our dry body weight.
Adults need about .8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, higher amounts are recommended for specific health goals.
Incorporate strategies like eating protein first at meals, snacking on cheese, replacing cereal with eggs, choosing Greek yogurt, and having protein shakes.
A high-protein diet helps regulate blood sugar, control appetite, increase metabolic rate, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity.

Do you know the real importance of protein? Whether you wish to lose weight, build more muscle, recover from a straining workout, feel more satiated at mealtime, or simply seek to maintain good health — it is important to get the right amount of healthy protein in your body.

With protein making up 42% of our dry body weight, it’s clear that we cannot neglect protein intake in our daily lives. But how much is required, and how can you boost your protein intake? Cracking this code doesn’t have to be difficult.

In this blog, we will take a comprehensive look at the importance of protein and review five easy ways to boost your protein intake.

Why Do You Need Protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient for your body that, along with carbohydrates and fat, must be consumed through diet because the body cannot produce enough to maintain health and survival.

Often called building blocks of the body, proteins are composed of essential amino acids. These amino acids play important roles in the body, including functioning as skeletal muscle, enzymes, hormones, and immune factors.

We know that protein promotes muscle growth and improves muscle recovery, making it especially important for athletes and those engaging in regular physical activity. Incorporating protein also helps maintain lean muscle during weight loss, which is crucial for preserving metabolic rate and preventing the loss of muscle mass.

Other benefits include regulating blood sugar levels, controlling appetite, and increasing metabolic rate, all of which contribute to effective weight management.

A high-protein diet is also known to reduce the risk of dietary-related illnesses including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Cardiovascular diseases

Daily Requirement for Protein

To achieve a perfectly balanced protein diet, you first need to understand the daily protein requirement for the human body.

The current recommended daily intake (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram (or 0.36 grams per pound) of body weight per day for adults over 18 years old. The RDA represents the amount of protein needed to meet basic nutritional requirements. If you want to reach a specific goal or improve your health condition, you might need to increase your intake.

For instance, if your goal is to protect against muscle loss, maximize muscle gain, lose body fat, or for older individuals at risk of sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss), you are advised to increase protein intake. To get personalized advice, it is best to get in touch with your dietitian to discover what suits you best.

However, if you’re hoping to prevent lean mass loss, you should take 1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram (0.54 to 0.7 grams per pound) of body weight per day. An even higher protein intake of up to 1.6 to 2.2 grams per kilogram (0.7 to 1.0 grams per pound) of body weight per day is ideal for non-dieting adults focused on maximizing resistance training adaptations.

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Simple Ways to Boost Your Protein Intake

Increasing your protein consumption does not have to be complex; it simply requires some thought and planning. Here are five simple methods to boost your protein intake:

1. Eat Your Protein First

Always aim to eat your protein first whenever you’re having a meal, and then move on to your carbs.

Proteins increase the production of peptide YY (PYY), a gut hormone that promotes feelings of fullness and satisfaction. Plus, a high-protein diet can decrease levels of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone,” helping to control appetite.

Eating protein first can also help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels post-meal. In fact, a 2015 study found that people with type 2 diabetes experienced significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels when they ate protein and vegetables before high-carb foods.

2. Snack on Cheese

Common snack foods like chips, pretzels, and crackers are typically low in protein. For example, a 1-cup serving of plain tortilla chips has 142 calories but only 2.1 grams of protein.

That said, choosing high-protein snacks can help you get extra protein into your diet. A 1-ounce serving of cheddar cheese contains 7 grams of protein, with nearly 30 fewer calories. Pair healthy cheese options with whole grain crackers, tomatoes, or sliced apples for a satisfying and nutritious snack.

3. Replace Cereal with Eggs

An egg is a marvelous source of healthy protein. Many traditional breakfast foods, such as toast, bagels, and cereals, are low in protein. Even though oatmeal contains more protein than most cereals, a 1-cup serving provides only 5 grams.

On the other hand, three large eggs offer 19 grams of protein, along with essential nutrients like selenium and choline. In fact, studies have proven that eating two eggs for breakfast instead of oatmeal reduces appetite and keeps participants fuller for longer, potentially leading to fewer calories consumed later in the day.

4. Choose Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a versatile, high-protein food. It is formed by removing whey and other liquids to create a richer, creamier product.

A 3.5-ounce serving provides 10 grams of protein, doubling the amount found in traditional yogurt. A food and science review proved that Greek yogurt also increases the release of gut hormones GLP-1 and PYY, which reduce hunger and promote fullness.

Plus, it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to assist with fat loss. You can enjoy a full bowl of Greek yogurt with your favorite berries, nuts, and a dash of honey, or use it in place of sour cream on your favorite savory dish.

5. Have a Protein Shake for Breakfast

Breakfast smoothies often lack proteins, even though they are packed with fruits and vegetables or rich curd. In such cases, adding protein powders, such as whey, soy, egg, or pea protein, can easily turn your smoothie into a high-protein meal.

Whey protein powder is especially popular for its ability to keep you satiated. On average, one scoop (28 grams) of whey powder provides about 17 grams of protein.

Here’s a simple whey shake recipe:

●        8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk

●        One scoop of whey powder

●        1 cup of fresh berries

●        Stevia or another healthy sweetener, if desired

●        1/2 cup of crushed ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Additional Tips For a High Protein Intake

Additional ways to boost your protein intake include the following:

●  Incorporate protein at every meal as studies suggest consuming 30-40 grams of protein per meal can enhance satiety and promote muscle mass maintenance.

●  Choose leaner cuts of meat and consider slightly larger portions. This can significantly elevate protein content without a substantial increase in calories.

●  Spreading natural peanut butter on fruits or crackers offers a convenient way to increase both protein and healthy fat intake.

●  Steamed soybeans (edamame) are a fantastic source of both protein and fiber.

● Use canned fish like salmon or sardines as they offer a convenient protein source and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Get Nutrition Support

Boosting your protein intake can be simple and effective with these easy strategies. Prioritize protein in your diet for better muscle maintenance, satiety, and overall well-being.

Achieving a perfectly balanced diet is straightforward, and with the right help from a specialist, you can make it even more effective and easy. At Dietitian Live, we provide a holistic approach to nutrition and focus on each client’s individual needs. Get support from the comfort of your own home, book your first appointment today at no cost to you.

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