Protein is today’s buzz word for those looking to stay healthy and fit.
With busy schedules getting in the way, eating the right amount of protein at each meal can be challenging. Knowing what to eat (and when) can help you reach your goals, even when you’re on the go.
Know your protein numbers
A food item is considered a good source of protein if it contains five grams per serving. According to the National Academy of Medicine, the average person needs about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram, or about 0.36 grams per pound, of body weight every day.
The key to achieving the most benefit from your protein intake is to make sure you’re eating a balanced amount of protein at every meal throughout the day, since the body can only absorb so much protein at one time. Skipping protein at breakfast, for example, can sabotage your efforts if you’re loading up at dinner.
What to eat for your healthy lifestyle
Nuts and Greek yogurt are naturally high in protein, but there are many more choices to add to the list.
Food manufacturers are upping their games by adding protein to grain-based cereals, crackers, and on-the-go foods such as bars and protein bites. Not only are these foods easy to consume and carry, but they can keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time.
But not everyone is on the same diet, so how do you know what to eat? Here’s a snapshot of what types of protein you should put on your plate:
- Low-carb: Animal-based proteins such as meat (beef, chicken or pork) and eggs and dairy (yogurt, milk and cottage cheese) are definitely on the menu. Choose the leanest cuts of meat—organic and grass-fed are best.
- Paleo: In addition to meat, a variety of seeds should be at the top of your shopping list if you eat a Paleo diet. Chia, pumpkin, flax and hemp seeds are excellent sources of protein, antioxidants and other essential vitamins and minerals.
- Vegetarian: Plant foods tend to not be complete proteins; that is, they don't provide all of the amino acids (protein building blocks) you need in one food. Vegetarians can get adequate amounts of amino acids by eating a variety of unrefined grains and legumes throughout the day (or by using products that take protein from different sources). Beans, lentils and quinoa are excellent sources of protein.
Protein for Workouts
Protein is crucial for fitness enthusiasts, so it’s important to know what to eat and when to get the best results.
- Pre-workout: Snack on fruit and nuts to fuel your activity.
- Post-workout: Eat a handful of trail mix plus a protein shake so you can replenish your protein stores.
Like this article? You’ll love our weekly newsletter
sign up here!
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.