By Martin Ebner
Following my last post: protein - how much do we need? Requests for a follow up on how to get enough protein have come in thick and fast.
The struggle to meet protein requirements is a real problem for many and if left neglected for too long can lead to a protein deficiency.
Thankfully getting enough protein isn't quite as hard as you think. It's a question of making small but conscious decisions about what you eat and when. With a better understand of nutritional content in food and a few tweaks here and there, you can easily bump up your protein intake without much effort at all.
Here are a few tips on how to get your daily protein fix:
Opt for whole grain over refined!
Not only can whole grains help reduce the risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes, their protein and fibre content heavily outweigh their pale nutrient weak counterpart.
To get more bang for your buck, try to incorporate whole grain pasta, bread, rice and flour alternatives into your menu on a daily basis.
Protein at breakfast
If you are somebody that spends long hours away from the comfort of your home and kitchen, make sure to kick start your day with a healthy serving of protein at breakfast. Not only will a protein rich breakfast help kick start your metabolism, it's also satiating, meaning you're less likely to snack on sugary treats in the lead up to lunch.
Try one of the protein rich breakfast ideas below.
3 poached eggs
2 slices of wholegrain toast.
Nutritional content: 525 calories, 25g protein, 43g carbs, 29g fat
150 - 200ml water
25g pumpkin seeds
100ml soy milk (unsweetened)
Nutritional content: 700 calories, 35g protein, 24g carbs, 78g carbs
2 tbsp peanut butter
200ml soy milk
Handful of ice
Nutritional content: 650 calories, 24g protein, 61g carbs, 14g fat
Related: Breakfast - start your day the way you mean to go on
Drink soy milk
Soy milk contains more protein, less sugar and fat than any of it's milky equivalents. Try adding it to your coffee, cereal or just be a man and drink it straight!
Note - Some soy milks contain high amounts with sugar. Always go for unsweetened!
Protein at Lunch
Make sure to add at least 1 serving of high quality protein to your lunch plate. Chicken and turkey breasts are both great sources of lean protein and when combined with a selection of fresh vegetables, make a delicious and highly nutritious lunch option.
Try our high protein, low carb salad recipe below:
200g turkey breast
1 serving of broccoli
1 serving on Rocket
1 serving of red lettuce
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic reduction
Salt and pepper.
Nutritional content: 537 calories, 54g protein, 22g carbs, 24g fat
Big things come in small packages. These delicious bite-sized beauties are one of nature's most nutrient-dense foods. Loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and up to a whopping 25g of protein per 100g serving. You'd be nuts not to eat some!
Next time hunger strikes in-between meals, instead of grabbing your regular bag of crisps (That's chips to you North Americans) reach for a 50g serving of nuts. The nutritional benefits alone make it the smart choice!
Peanuts, almonds, and pistachio are the most protein dense nuts.
Nutritional content per 50g serving of peanuts: 283 calories, 13g protein, 8g carbs, 25g fat
Greek yogurt every day
Instead of chowing down on chocolate for your mid-afternoon snack, serve yourself a healthy dollop or 2 of light Greek yogurt. It's packed with muscle building protein, is rich in calcium and it tastes absolutely delicious. Enough said!!
Nutritional content per 200g serving of light Greek yogurt: 160 calories, 12g protein, 16g carbs, 5g fat
Note: For an added protein boost, try topping with Pumpkin and Squash Seeds.
Get your 5 a day
Vegetables - although not oozing protein, are bloody good for you. Now go eat some!
5 highest protein Vegetables
1: Edamame (cooked soybeans) - 11g protein per 100g
2: Green peas - 5.4g protein per 100g
3: Kale - 4.3g per 100g
4: Spinach - 3g per 100g (Popeye ate it for a reason)
5: Asparagus - 2.5g per 100g
Protein at dinner
If you work long and demanding hours with little time to eat during the day, dinner may be your best bet for filling up on protein. I know it's the end of the day, you're tired and as tempted as you may be to opt for a high carb ready meal, don't! Eating a high protein meal in the evening will help your body recover after a tough day and keep your metabolism revved up till morning.
Top 10 protein food sources
Protein content per 100g
Beef - 26g
Pork - 27g
Poultry - 27g
Salmon - 24g
Wholegrain rice & pasta - 14g
Eggs (around 2 eggs) - 13g
Cottage cheese - 12g
Tofu - 8g
Lentils - 9g
If all else fails, add a protein supplement to your diet.
Protein supplements are an easy and convenient source of complete, high-quality protein that is easily absorbed by the body. The 3 most popular protein supplements are whey, soy, and casein.
Nutritional content per 25g serving of whey protein: 100 calories, 19g protein, 2g carbs, 2g fat