Fuel your better-body mission with these five easy ways to eat more protein
When you want to build more lean muscle mass and strip away unwanted body fat, what you do in the kitchen is as important as what you do in the gym. And eating more protein has a massive role to play in helping you look and feel fantastic. Not only do protein-rich foods and meals keep you feeling fuller for longer, they also help your body build muscle quickly while freeing up fat stores for use as fuel. Here’s five ways to increase your daily protein intake without any extra effort to start changing your body for the better.
Ending your overnight fast with a high-protein breakfast will start your day as you mean to go on and help you hit your daily protein target. Aim for around 35g of protein for breakfast, which is the equivalent of three eggs and two rashers of lean bacon, because research from the University of Missouri found that this amount will improve appetite control and reduce snacking for the rest of the day.
Your lunch should be high in lean, quality protein and packed with nutrient-dense veg, so a salad piled high with chicken, tuna or beef is perfect. But it’s vital you pay as much attention to your snacks as you do to your main meals to make sure you stay on the high-protein path to transformation success. A Greek yoghurt and a handful of seeds or nuts will provide muscle-building protein and hunger-quelling fats, and keep blood-sugar levels stable, which is crucial for fat-burning success.
To help your muscles recover from a tough session try to drink a post-workout high-quality whey protein shake within an hour of completing your workout. Most serving suggestions are around 30g of whey protein powder, either mixed with water to keep the carb count low, or with milk if you want the extra calories because you struggle to build muscle. Another tactic for “hard-gainers” is to have one 30g shake as soon as you finish training, then another 30g shake an hour later, but this isn’t necessary if fat loss is your primary fitness target.
Your evening meal, as with lunch, should be packed with fresh vegetables and a large portion of protein, while your carb serving will be determined by your goal: to lose fat you’ll have fewer carbs than if trying to build as much muscle as possible. Lean red meat, such as certain steaks, and white meat, such as chicken or turkey, is high in protein and low in fat, while salmon, tuna and other cold-water fish are also packed with protein as well as essential omega-3 fatty acids your body needs for better brain health.
If you’re training for muscle gains and find it hard to add size then it’s worth considering taking on some more protein before you go to bed. Foods high in casein, which is a type of protein that takes a long time to be digested and so gets “drip-fed” into your muscles throughout the night as you sleep, is the smart choice. Have a late-night snack of casein-rich dairy products, or drink a casein protein shake to end your day stronger.
Here’s more info on the three main macronutrients – protein, fats and carbs – as well as the micronutrients your body needs to stay fit and healthy!