Our bodies depend on a balanced diet of sustainable foods in order to maintain a state of good health. Protein is one of the most talked about variables in nutrition, leaving many people unsure of its role or importance in our diets. Protein is responsible for synthesizing muscle cells and repairing muscular tissue in the body. You can find protein in a lot of different types of foods, but what is most important is the overall quality of the food and the healthy eating habits that revolve around protein consumption. Scheduling workouts and exercise for before or after meals is a great way to ensure your body is fully digesting the fuel. Aside from muscular tissue repair, here are some other reasons why protein is so important.
- Essential macronutrient, you need an adequate amount of protein in your diet everyday for your body to function properly
- Needed to maintain muscle mass
- Helps keep blood sugars stable
- Keeps you from feeling hungry
- Responsible for growth, repair and maintenance of cells
- Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play a significant part in growing hair
- Not enough protein in your diet can to body using muscle for energy
- Responsible for growth of muscle, cartilage and skin
- Plays a role regulating hormones effectively
There are a lot of different ways to incorporate protein into your diet. The most important part is consistency and a vision for what you would like to achieve. Eating increased volumes of protein alone will not make you more fit, but the fuel you gain from the nutrients will support you when you do exercise.
- Make sure you get an adequate amount of protein per meal (aim for a stack of cards)
- Prioritize lean protein sources
- Egg whites
- Have a serving of protein with your snack (7 grams of protein is equal to one serving of protein)
- Apple and peanut butter
- Carrots and cheese stick
- Celery and hard boiled egg
- Add in some healthy fats for a snack that have protein in them
- Peanut butter, cashews, almonds
- Switch to Greek yogurt as Greek yogurt has more protein
- If you don’t like the texture or taste of Greek yogurt, make a smoothie with some frozen fruit to give it some texture and flavor (i.e., banana, raspberries)
- Snack on roasted chickpeas – great carbohydrate and protein source
For the best results, eat protein 30-60 minutes before or after a workout. This allows your body to digest the nutrients when your heart rate is higher which helps distribute compounds faster and more effectively. Real results are a matter of consistency and drive. Nutritionists at Nutrition Services at Behavioral Nutrition can help you improve your diet by finding ways to add protein to it that are sustainable.
We understand that everyone is different and work with each patient to develop healthy eating habits that work for them. Contact us today to learn more about how Nutritional Therapy can help you start eating better and lead a healthier lifestyle.