Why Protein is So Important
If you’ve been following me on instagram the past 6 months or even before my pregnancy, you probably saw me talk about protein on many occasions, almost daily. It’s something that is incredibly important in my life as I’ve become more and more aware of what it does for our bodies. Protein is essential for daily life. When we eat protein, it is broken down into amino acids and amino acids help with cell repair, regulating hormones, keeping us feeling satiated, and can even help control body fat. When we eat protein, we give every cell in our body the chance to repair and grow. This means healthier bones, muscles, cartilage, and even skin.
But wait, THERE’S MORE! Protein can even support your immune system. Protein helps form antibodies which fight infection. In a time where people seem to be more scared than ever about their health, protein is something that can help support your immune system! How cool is that?!
The point is, protein makes us healthier. It makes us thrive. It helps us build muscle and muscle is the organ of longevity. That means muscle is even more important as we age. Want to protect your bones from a fall? Muscle will help with that. Want to be able to get up and down off the ground easily? Muscle will help with that. Want to keep your blood sugar stable and hormones balanced? Yes, muscle can help with that, also! And getting adequate protein (and exercise) is a huge part of that.
But how do we know if we are getting enough protein in? That can be the challenging piece of the puzzle, especially if you’re not well versed in tracking your food. I know I wasn’t versed in tracking my protein only just a year ago. But when I did begin to track, I quickly noticed that my protein was far lower than what it needed to be. At that time in my life, my goal was to get 115g of protein in per day, which was on the lower side, and I was only getting around 60g of protein. I was WAY off for not only my physical goals, but health goals. But once I began to track my protein and pay more attention to hitting those numbers every single day, I saw and felt great improvements. My numbers in the gym improved, I recovered from workouts faster, my hair grew longer, my nails got stronger, my energy improved throughout the day, and I felt much more satiated between meals. All around, I simply felt better once I began eating more protein! Pretty freaking cool.
If you don’t really know where to start with eating more protein, keep it simple – try to get 30g of protein per meal. If you have 3 meals per day, that gets you to 90g of protein. I’m sure you could have figured that out. And if you want to add a bit more protein on top of that, have a protein shake! If you have it with milk, that could get you close to another 30g of protein. Then boom, you’ve consumed 120g of protein in your day eating 4x/day!
Here are some ideas to get you to 30g of protein per meal –
Breakfast: 2 eggs (12g protein) + 1 chicken apple sausage (13g protein) + 1oz goat cheese (4g protein) + 1 cup sautéed spinach (1g protein) = 30g protein
Lunch: 1 can tuna (21g protein) + 1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt (12g protein) + all the fixin’s of a tuna salad like celery, red onion, dijon mustard, and fresh herbs = 33g protein
Dinner: 3oz cooked chicken thighs (22g protein) + 2oz cooked lentil pasta (7g protein) + 1/2 cup roasted broccoli (6g protein) + 1/2 cup pasta sauce (2g protein) = 37g protein
How easy was that?! That was the simplest menu ever. Now think about if you got creative with it? If you added more legumes, veggies, dairy, and MEAT and SEAFOOD, now that would get you even more protein! The more you add proteins such as chicken, beef, salmon, turkey, bison, and other fish to your daily meals, the better off you will be! Then it will become easier and more second nature instead of counting and tracking.
Protein is incredible and it’s super important. Your body deserves to have plenty of it every single day. Are you getting enough? Are you paying attention? Tell me everything. What ways help YOU get more protein in?
On that note, it’s time to make Avery dinner! Her protein includes chicken liver pâté!
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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