Protein is one of the three macronutrients that are essential in the human diet, alongside carbohydrates and fats. Dietary protein can be broken down into glucose and used by the body for energy. It’s also required for the assimilation of new proteins and muscle recovery after a tough workout or injury.
Bodybuilders who are trying to gain muscle mass are required to eat around 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which is a lot more protein than the average person. But even if you don’t have a physique goal, you still need to consume enough protein.
The daily recommended protein intake is around 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you’re struggling to achieve this target, here are some top tips to help you increase your protein intake.
Protein powder is a type of supplement that is popular amongst bodybuilders as it’s an easy way to increase daily protein intake. One scoop of protein powder contains around 20-30 grams.
There are different blends available, including whey, soy, hemp, and pea protein powders. You can also get pre-made weight loss or bariatric protein shakes that can be used as a high-protein meal replacement.
Protein powders come in a range of flavors, so you’ll easily be able to find an option that you love. Mix it with water or milk in a juicer or blender to create a shake, or add it to your pancakes or dessert recipes for some extra protein.
Add High-Protein Toppings to Your Meals
Whether you’re eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are lots of great high-protein toppings that you add.
Some great additions to your meals include:
- Chopped nuts (almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts)
- Seeds (chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, poppy)
- Nutritional yeast
Adding these ingredients wherever possible will bump up your daily protein to help you hit your target.
Start the Day With a High-Protein Breakfast
Most people eat breakfast in a rush before work. They quickly eat a bowl of cereal or grab a granola bar before heading out the door. Although these meals are convenient, they’re not very high in protein and probably won’t keep you full for very long.
Instead of choosing processed foods for breakfast, swap them for a higher protein option. Starting the day off with a high-protein meal sets you on the right track and could help you to increase your overall protein intake.
Some great high-protein breakfasts include:
- Protein shake or smoothie
- Overnight protein oats (proats)
- Chia seed pudding
- Greek yogurt with nuts, seeds, and honey
- Protein pancakes
- Scrambled eggs of tofu on toast
Choose High-Protein Vegetables
Although vegetables are not the highest in protein compared to many other foods, there are certain vegetables that contain more protein than others. Choosing these high protein options can help to increase your protein intake ever so slightly.
High protein vegetables include Edamame beans, green peas, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and kale. Add these vegetables into your main dishes for some extra protein or piece them together into a delicious veggie stir fry.