When we hear the phrase “high protein” we often think of beefy body builders or people trying to bulk up rather than slim down. However, protein is not only the building block for our muscles, it is also a key factor for losing weight. Protein breaks down slower than carbohydrates. What this means to you is it gives you a longer term energy rather than a short term energy, keeps you full longer and can significantly cut down on sweet cravings. Sounds pretty amazing, right?!
In fact, the second most common mistake I see in my nutrition practice is diets that are too low in protein (the most common mistake I see is undereating!). Typically we do a good job at lunch and dinner, but breakfast and snacks are where protein seems to fall through the cracks. In order to understand how we can incorporate more protein, let’s look at the primary sources of protein in our diet:
Animal Protein Sources
- Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
Vegetarian Protein Sources
- Soy (tofu, edamame)
- Hemp hearts
It is important to note that almost all food has some level of protein in them and this vegetarian list is far from exhaustive. I chose ones that are my favorite, have at least 8-10g of protein per serving and were easily accessible. If you have other great sources of protein I would love to hear about them in the comment section below!
A great rule of thumb is every time you eat, make sure it has a source of protein as well as a carbohydrate. Here are a few examples:
Oatmeal – add hemp hearts or almond butter
Fruit – pair with cheese or yogurt
Salad – top with chicken, egg or lentils
Pasta – add ground turkey or edamame
Sliced veggies – serve with hummus
For other great protein packed snack options, check out my blog 5 Healthy Snacks on the Go.
So if you have a goal of losing weight, have been suffering from a dip in energy or feel like your carb/sweet cravings are sabotaging your success, try focusing on your protein. You will find that this easy rule of thumb is the secret weapon you need!
Article first appeared on www.totalgymdirect.com.