How to Eat More Protein
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
LifeTime WeightLoss in Anika DeCoster, Healthy Cooking, Nutrition, Protein, how much protein, pProtein Grocery_Shopping

We all need protein. No matter your age, your weight or dietary preference, protein is essential to our health and often a primary recommendation when coaching individuals on how to improve their nutrition and meal quality. Although most people would say they know protein is important, many struggle to meet their full requirement. The reasons are many, but a little preparation and some creative inspiration go a long way toward ensuring the necessary intake. Do you get enough? Learn how much protein you need and gain how-to tips for working in more quality protein throughout your day. 

How Much?

So, how much protein do you need? We’ve talked about protein amounts and sources before and often reference the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommendation of 1.4 – 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight to get your total recommended grams per day. When coaching clients, I often take that total gram recommendation and divvy it up amongst all of their meals. This way, they reap the benefits of protein throughout the day versus just one large, protein-heavy meal at the end of the day (a.k.a. dinner).

If you’re tracking your food on myPlan or another online tracker, you can confirm whether or not you’re getting enough total grams and see how your protein varies throughout the day. Not into tracking your meals? Use the “hand method” approach instead. For women, I often recommend a hand-size portion of a protein rich food at every meal and for men two hand-size portions.  

How-To Tips

Below are some of the most common obstacles I hear about from clients who struggle with adequate protein intake--as well as clear strategies to address them. 

“It’s too expensive”

Generally speaking, high quality protein-rich foods will cost more than highly processed convenience foods. When coaching my clients, I warn them that their grocery bill will be higher. It’s all in the name of health! (Sickness is much more expensive, by the way.) Nonetheless, here are a few tips on successfully transitioning to healthier food while minimizing the price spike.

“I don’t have time.” 

Protein foods do require some prep time and cook time. When coaching, I often have clients who imagine having to cook gourmet meals or spend countless hours in the kitchen to keep up their healthy eating lifestyle. It’s hardly the reality, however. If you think you don’t have enough time for protein, think again.  

“I get enough at dinner…but the rest of the day...”

Most of my clients are really good at getting good protein at dinner, however, the rest of the day can be hit or miss. As I mentioned earlier, the benefits of protein come when eaten throughout the entire day. Limiting your protein intake to one lump sum at dinner won’t make for optimal health. Here are some quick tips to help you space out your intake.

What other barriers do you come across when trying to get enough protein in? Share your thoughts along with your best tips on staying consistent with protein intake!

Written by Anika DeCoster – Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

Article originally appeared on LifeTime WeightLoss (http://www.lifetime-weightloss.com/).
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