In an ongoing series on health, nutrition and becoming a better you, Modern Mississauga has teamed up with local fitness and health enthusiast Julie Cropper to provide tips, advice and inspiration to help you become the best you possible. Got a question for Julie? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re struggling to lose a few pounds, it’s time to swap out some of your carbs for healthy quality protein. Over the course of my fitness journey, I’ve learned about the importance of protein, and now it's part of every meal I serve. High quality protein keeps us satisfied and makes us feel fuller longer. It boosts metabolism and keeps us energized throughout the day, and it helps the body build and retain muscle. To ensure you're getting enough protein in your diet daily, here are few suggestions to get you started.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BREAKFAST
Eggs, yogurt, and certain cuts of meat are all better choices than processed cereals, high carb bagels or toast for breakfast. High protein foods will help you feel full longer and keep you from snacking during the day.
A little preparation will go a long way. Make protein packed meals in bulk and eat them for lunch during the week. Having healthy food at your fingertips makes a world of difference!
ALTERNATE YOUR SNACKS
Carb-heavy snacks like pretzels, cookies, crackers, and granola bars have become the “norm” at snack time. But if you want to add more protein to your diet, you'll have to ditch these snacks and pack real food. Try some jerky, nuts, boiled eggs or quality protein bars. I always make sure I have a protein snack in my purse, which makes it easier to squeeze in some extra protein.
Greek yogurt is packed with protein and can easily bump up your intake. Some brands contain twice the amount of protein compared to regular yogurt. Mix it with some fruit or granola and you have the perfect mid-afternoon meal.
Protein shakes are convenient and an easy way to get more protein into your diet. I like to use them post workout to help with muscle repair and they can even reduce muscle soreness. You can also add a scoop of protein power to your morning oatmeal or your favorite recipe to boost its protein content if you get bored of shakes.
TRY DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEATS
Change things up and keep your taste buds satisfied by including a variety of meats. Fish, shrimp, turkey breast, pork tenderloin, lean cuts of beef, and lamb are great options other than chicken breast.
SIDE DISHES ARE ALSO IMPORTANT
You can get a big percentage of your protein from side dishes too! Try using beans, legumes, grains and even greens such as spinach. Quinoa is popular at my house. It’s gluten-free and loaded with fibre and about six grams of protein per serving.
It doesn’t matter if you want to lose fat, build muscle, or just be healthier - your goal should be to pump up the protein! What are your favorite tips and tricks for getting enough protein?
Julie has a passion for health and fitness and is on a mission to help others be the best they can be at any age. Follow her on Instagram @julescropper.