Most nutritional professionals can agree that protein should be an important part of your everyday diet. But for us Bold & Determined Athletes and for people who are health and fitness-minded, we need some serious protein for some serious gains. A recommended protein intake for muscle growth is anywhere from .8 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Once you start making a conscious effort to eat the right amount you might realize… that’s a lot of protein! It’s time to get creative and step outside of our comfort zone, as well as changing up some simple eating habits.
EAT YOUR PROTEIN FIRST
Our body absorbs certain nutrients at different rates, protein being the slowest and carbohydrates the quickest. The reason your body takes so long to break down and utilize proteins has to do with its strong molecular structure. Your body will burn 30 calories just trying to absorb 100 calories of protein. If we scale the other two, fats only take up 12 calories, and carbohydrates a slim 7 calories.
When you consume protein, your body breaks it down into amino acids. Any excess amino acids that weren’t able to be absorbed by your muscles are sent to your liver. Here they will go through several chemical reactions, eventually turning your once muscle-building protein nutrients into fat and glucose. Because protein digests so slowly, if we consume it second to carbohydrates, more than likely our muscles won’t be able to receive any of the benefits of the protein. Since protein provides the building blocks of your muscles, you definitely don’t want to miss out.
Not only are you doing your muscles a favor by eating your protein first, but you may just be helping to regulate your blood sugar levels too. Studies have shown that eating your protein before you consume carbohydrates can help to keep your blood sugar levels low. It also lowered post-meal glucose and insulin levels in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. They found that instead of restricting certain foods, you could change the order in which those foods were consumed and still keep your blood sugar at a healthy level.
ADD SEEDS AND NUTS TO YOUR MEALS
Adding things like seeds and nuts to your diet can not only moderately bump your protein intake, but they can also help with inflammation.
Most nuts are also high in magnesium which has so many benefits, including improvement in athletic performance and a reduction in Insulin Resistance.
Some of your best options are peanuts for the price, almonds, walnuts, and pecans are some of the most versatile, and Brazil nuts have been known to help with thyroid and heart problems.
KEEP QUICK AND EASY PROTEIN SOURCES ON-HAND
This is a very simple way to keep your diet high in protein: keep high protein snacks handy. Items like boiled eggs, greek yogurt, or even slices of turkey or chicken can be simple to store and nearly no preparation is required. I find that the easier my healthy food is to access, the less I stray.
Fail to plan and you plan to fail.
Something that I like to keep in my fridge are protein bites. When I get a bit of a sweet tooth, they make for the perfect guilt-free snack.
TRY UNIQUE SOURCES OF PROTEIN
Step outside of your comfort zone and try something like nutritional yeast.
Studies have shown that it has a range of health benefits from lowering cholesterol and protecting the body from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable atoms, molecules, or ions in your body that can cause illness and aging.
What is it? A species of yeast that is mainly used to bake bread and brew beer (say that 5 times fast!). This is the only type of yeast where the cells are not alive at the time of purchase, so you can eat it raw! It has a very distinct cheesy flavor and is known to be used in many vegan sauces for that reason.
In ¼ cup of nutritional yeast, there are 60 calories, 8 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, along with a range of amazing vitamins and minerals including B-12 and folic acid.
Spirulina, the best-kept secret. With 60 – 70% of its dry weight coming from protein, Spirulina is a must-have for those looking to add more into their diet. 1 tablespoon (about 7 grams) contains 4 grams of protein. Not only is it a great addition to your muscle-building regimen, but Spirulina has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
TURN YOUR REGULAR COFFEE INTO A POWERFUL ENERGY BOOSTING PROTEIN COFFEE
There are tons of high protein options at different restaurants and even coffee shops. Whether that means you’re getting a bunless burger or a little extra love in your coffee, it’s a good idea to sneak in extra protein and cut the garbage where you can.
Next time you go to your favorite coffee joint, ask about protein powder add-ins.
Even better, you can totally make your own high protein coffee blend! Blend (in a blender) 1 scoop of Bad Athletics protein into your coffee in place of creamer. My favorite is the Vanilla Cream but I also enjoy Coconut and Salted Caramel. Be sure to let your coffee cool down slightly before adding your protein, I find I get the best results when I use my blender but you can also use a whisk.
PROTEIN POWDER SUPPLEMENT
There are many options when it comes to protein powder. A few rules will help you decide which is best for you.
Always look for grass-fed and hormone-free whey. When cows eat anything but their natural grass diet, they tend to get sick more often. Sick cows require medications leading to antibiotics in your products.
The second thing to look for is simple ingredients. Besides the fact that you should know most of the ingredients you see, you don’t want there to be too many ‘other’ items. Don’t let the promise of extra amino acids or added creatine draw you in. Look at the protein for what it is, and go for simple.
Last, be sure to choose a protein with low sugar. It can be difficult to find a tasty powder without loads of sugars or artificial sweeteners. Bad Athletics protein meets all 3 criteria, and with their mix and match abilities, the flavor bomb combos are endless.
Try adding protein powder to your oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, pancakes, and baked goods! Protein powder is the best and most convenient way to add more protein to your diet!
When it comes to adding extra protein to your diet it benefits you the most to just pay attention and plan ahead. A little preparation and awareness go a long way! Keep high protein snacks on hand and make your life a little easier by adding in a super convenient and quality protein supplement like Bad Protein. Stock up today!