If you’ve recently started a weight-loss journey, you’re probably always on the lookout for tips that can help you succeed. There are a few steps that you will have to follow such as staying active and following a specific diet. When it comes to the diet, you want some foods that are rich in protein. If you’re wondering how protein will benefit you, keep on reading for more information as well as some ways how you can prepare your food to taste delicious.
Why is protein important?
For starters, let’s go over why protein is important. Besides fat and carbs, it’s one of the three macronutrients. As protein is the main part of your bones, muscles, hair, and skin, it’s essential for the repair and maintenance of these tissues. You want to get plenty of it on a regular basis in order for your body to function properly. Moreover, it’s vital for hormone levels as it allows cells and organs to communicate with one another. Chemical reactions of your body are also driven by protein, as most enzymes are this type of macronutrient. Finally, proteins are also in charge of the storage and transportation of certain molecules. For instance, hemoglobin brings oxygen to the cells in your body.
In terms of weight loss, protein will help you suppress hunger as you will feel full for longer. Additionally, more protein means that you burn more calories. When you take these abilities into account, it’s easy to see how protein-rich foods can assist you during your weight loss. Furthermore, protein can increase your strength and muscle mass, strengthen your bones, and improve recovery from injuries.
Which foods are rich in protein?
Now, let’s go over the foods that are rich in protein and can help you reach your weight goals.
If you plan to include meat in your diet, there are many choices to pick from. You can use chicken and turkey for foods with a higher percentage of protein, while beef and pork are also an option, although with a lower percentage. In addition to protein, meat and poultry come with minerals and vitamins like B12, magnesium, and potassium.
You should also include seafood in your weekly meal plan. For instance, crab, shrimps, trout, and tuna are all rich in iodine, magnesium, potassium, and other nutrients. On the other hand, salmon and other fatty fish will provide you with omega-3 fatty acids. Shrimp is among the most protein-rich foods with 97%, but seafood in general can keep you full for longer.
Including non-starchy vegetables is also important to have a healthy weight loss journey. Leafy greens and veggies like cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, and mushrooms are low in carbs and calories but high in nutrients, water, and fiber. While these veggies are healthy, you still want to combine them with other foods.
Eggs are very nutritious and will keep you full for a couple of hours. They are very versatile and easy to get. Egg whites have more protein, but eating a whole egg is recommended as it also contains iron, selenium, and vitamin A.
Unless you have to be dairy-free, dairy products can also be high in protein and help you on your journey. If you’re lactose intolerant, you can consider fermented products like cottage cheese and yogurt, which are low in lactose and rich in nutrients. You can also opt for whey protein isolate.
Legumes, aka soy, beans, peas, lentils, and different kinds of seeds, are also a great source of protein. While they can be high in carbs, they also provide you with fiber and other nutrients. Plus, they are an excellent solution if you’re a vegan or vegetarian.
How to prepare protein-rich meals?
When it comes to preparing these foods, there are countless methods you can try.
For example, if you want a quick lunch, you can order quality meat online, properly season it, and prepare it on the grill or in the oven. You can try the same approach for different types of seafood. Add some red bell peppers, avocado, brown rice, carrots, or fruit to the meal to make the most of it. A meat/veggie chili is also a good solution and you might have it for a few days.
Some breakfast ideas include three eggs (done however you prefer) with whole grain toast, almond butter, and fruit, fruit smoothies with protein powder and coconut milk, oatmeal with yogurt and nuts, omelets with cheese, olives, and chili peppers, and protein pumpkin pancakes.
For dinner, think about grilling salmon or shrimp, making chicken meatballs, baking tofu, or cooking steak. Add sautéed spinach, grilled onions, zucchini, or bell peppers, or baked potatoes. Don’t forget an occasional fruit.
Pistachios, almost butter, kefir, and pumpkin seeds can all serve as quick snacks in between meals.
How much protein should you consume?
There is a debate about how much protein you should consume on a daily basis. Some research shows that a person that weighs 150 pounds or 68 kilograms needs about 54 grams of protein a day. On the other hand, many scientists agree that this amount is too low for good health. Studies have also concluded that 0.6 grams per pound aka 1.3 grams per kilogram is better to prevent muscle loss. The maximum amount to intake to still experience the benefits is 0.75 grams per pound or 1.6 per kilogram. It’s important to remember to spread out the protein intake throughout the day, instead of eating it all at once. That way, the body will use the protein efficiently.
If you’re looking to lose weight, protein is crucial. Take these tips into account and make sure to track your progress to see what might need adjusting.