When it comes to food, we need to understand how to use the three macronutrients – fat, carbohydrate and protein – to our advantage. Here, we look at the power of protein, and how it can benefit you.
Why Is Protein Important?
Protein is really the building block of your body. It’s essential for things such as:
- Building muscle
- Repairing muscle
- Keeping the metabolism happy and high
- Building hormones, enzymes and blood cells
- Maintaining brain health
- Supporting the immune system
Protein also keeps you feeling fuller for longer. So if you’re a serial (or cereal!) snacker or sweet craver, protein can help control those impulses by keeping you satiated.
Animal Vs Plant Proteins
Animal proteins are complete proteins – they contain all of the essential amino acids in the right amounts. On the other hand, plant proteins have some, but not all of them.
So if you are eating a plant-based food plan, you need to make sure you’re using a variety of protein sources. Each plant has a different array of amino acids, so the greater the variety of foods, the greater the variety of amino acids. By eating plenty of beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals, you will cover them all.
I suggest consuming a legume and a cereal together with each meal – for example, beans and brown rice. It’s an easy way to get your mix of amino acids in every meal.
How Much Should You Eat?
I don’t believe in a very high protein approach – everything has its place in a balanced food plan. But with that being said, you do need to consume it regularly for best results.
I recommend 25g of protein with every meal. Percentage-wise, I suggest around 30%, depending on your lifestyle. If you are training intensely or recovering from surgery, you might need a bit more.
It’s rare that anyone truly needs a protein powder supplement. But if you’re someone who struggles to eat in the morning, a protein smoothie might be a good option for you. Look for a protein powder with minimal ingredients and no artificial additives.
My Top Protein Go-Tos
Want to boost up your protein? Here are my top picks for plant-based and animal-based protein sources.
- Brown rice
Nuts are also a healthy source of protein, but they usually contain more fat than protein, so watch your portion sizes.
- Fish & shellfish
- Lean muscle meats like rump steak
- Natural yoghurt
Quality Is Key
Just like every type of food, you want to make sure that your proteins are high-quality and nutrient-dense. Processed deli meats that have preservatives and added ingredients aren’t going to be your best option.
Make sure you’re getting the best bang for your calorie buck – that means maximum nutrition and minimal added ingredients (or none at all).
If you want to learn more about building up a healthy food plan with quality protein, make sure you check out The Real Lifestyle Collective. This group program includes recipes, meal plans, exercise videos, mindset work and more – and for a ridiculously low price! To learn more about The Real Lifestyle Collective, head here.