You probably know that you need protein in your diet, but do you know why?
Here’s WHY, the condensed version:
- Helps build and repair tissues, like those in your muscles and bones. You do want strong muscles and bones, don’t you?
- Helps create hormones, like ones that make you happy and want to do sexy time.
- Supports your immune system so you don’t get your socks knocked off by every cold that goes around.
- Boosts your metabolism, meaning you burn more calories, so it helps you lose fat and stay lean for eva!
- Keeps you satiated (feeling full for longer), so it’s not snack time 45 minutes after you eat.
FUN FACT: eating protein at breakfast can actually cut down on snacking in the afternoon and evening!
OK, glad we got that covered.
So now that you know why you should eat protein, FROM WHERE should you get it? Lean sources are recommended and per UDSA guidelines, this means one 3.5oz serving (roughly a palm size) can have no more than 10 grams of fat (4.5 grams of which can be saturated) and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.
There are lots of sources but the ones below are like the all-star team of proteins:
(Beef, pork, elk, ostrich, venison, lamb, rabbit, boar, veal, bison, etc.)
(Chicken, turkey, duck, eggs, egg whites)
Fish (bass, bluefish, catfish, cod, flounder, rockfish, grouper, haddock, halibut, mahi-mahi, snapper, swordfish, tilapia)
Shellfish (crab, shrimp, lobster, scallops)
Dairy (cottage cheese, Greek yogurt)
Beans (chick peas, navy, pinto, black, lentils, etc)
Soy products (tofu, tempeh)
Tip: Look for words like “loin,” “shoulder,” and “breast,” and “90% lean” (or higher). Also check the nutrition label to see how it compares to the guidelines above.
(I have a sweet downloadable guide to help you remember this – contact me here if you’d like me to send it to you).
Lastly, HOW MUCH protein should you be eating at a time?
A great guideline is that of Precision Nutrition’s hand portion guide:
That’s a serving of protein for women, 2 palms-worth is a serving for men.
Hunger is always your best guideline, so most importantly, just eat until you’re about 80% full and then stop, regardless of how much of your palm you’ve eaten. (Not literally speaking, of course. This blog does not support cannibalism, self- or otherwise).
Feel better now? This week, work on incorporating a serving of protein into most of your meals. If this will be a big change for you, start off with just one meal (ideally breakfast, since that’ll have the biggest impact on the rest of the day) and start adding in additional meals as you feel confident in your ability to do so).