How Do You Get The Protein You Need?
Why do we need protein?
Protein is an essential macronutrient that is extremely important for the development and functioning of the human body, and is especially important for athletes and and recreational gym users. As you already know, protein is the building block of muscles. Consequently, knowing what are the best sources of protein for building and maintaining your muscles is crucial.
Therefore including plenty of protein in your diet not only helps to make your muscles stronger but also helps to ensure you complete your workout more effectively. What you need to remember though, is over doing the protein won’t make you gain muscle quicker neither will it make them bigger. In fact what happens is the protein your body needs will go into repairing the muscle and the rest will be flushed away.
Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, but it can be tricky to make sure you’re getting enough.
How much protein should I eat?
Adequate protein intake still leads to controversy. The recommendation for an average person is about 0.8-1.0 g/kg (grams per kilogram of body weight), while protein intake for active people and athletes should be considerably higher.
When you are doing any kind of strength training you need to be aiming at eating al least between 1.2 and 1.5 grams of protein each day for each kilogram you weigh. For example, say you weigh 75 kg then you need to be eating between 90 and 113 grams of protein each day. 1 gram protein = 4 calories. So the total number of calories you’ll be eating when you consume 90 grams of protein is 360.
Good Sources of Protein
Do you know what are the best sources of protein for muscle building? There are several ways in which you can get all the protein your muscles needs into your diet. These are the 4 best sources of protein for your diet:
- FOODS HIGH IN PROTEIN
- PROTEIN SHAKES
- PROTEIN BARS
- MEAL REPLACEMENTS
1. Foods Rich in Protein
There are plenty of foods that contain protein. The kinds of foods you must make sure you’re eating on a daily basis are as follows:
- Lean steak (with as little or no fat as possible);
- Chicken breast (without the skin);
- Fish (any type);
These are the best high protein foods for building lean muscles. However this does not mean that there are no other foods that are rich in proteins and can be part of your diet, but if you eat any of the above foods daily, you will definitely be entering the quality protein that is needed for development and adaptation after the training. Proteins found in dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, and other animal sources are complete proteins. It means they contain all the essential amino acids you need for tissue growth, repair, and maintenance.
A word of caution, though. Dairy products can be high in fat, so be sure to choose low-fat or nonfat dairy foods such as milks, cheese, and yogurt. As for eggs, limit yourself to one egg yolk a day. Most of the protein is found in the egg white anyway.
Here’s a typical menu rich in proteins:
1. Breakfast. In a pan scramble some egg whites with a few vegetables and then top off with a slice of whole-wheat toast. Great vegetables to include are tomatoes and mushrooms.
2. Lunch. Have either tuna or lean meat inside a whole-wheat tortilla with some grilled vegetables or a fresh green salad.
3. Dinner. For your evening meal why not grill or bake a piece of chicken breast, lean steak or fish and serve it with lightly steamed vegetables and brown rice. Not only will this meal provide you with plenty of protein, but also plenty of healthy nutrients and carbs your body needs.
4. Snacks. Of course you may feel hungry during the day, when feeling peckish eat fruit, vegetables, low fat cheese.
2. Protein Shakes
As the name suggests these are made up of various types of proteins your body’s able to absorb. Normally they come in powder form and you add to either milk, water, or juice. These particular shakes provide your body with large amounts of protein that’ll help to ensure muscles get repaired more effectively after you’ve completed one of your very strenuous strength training workouts. Whatever you do, don’t replace meals with protein shakes. Keep the shakes for after your workout and PART of your diet.
However although protein shakes take very little time to prepare you need to be wary about using them as they may contain substances that aren’t listed on the container. These may actually prove detrimental to your health and of course detrimental to you achieving your goals. Nonetheless if you make sure you read the ingredients clearly then you shouldn’t have a problem.You can also try making your own protein drink. Blend fat-free Greek yogurt, soy or skim milk, and fruit. For even more protein, add a tablespoon of peanut butter, but keep an eye on the calories.
3. Protein Bars
A fast and convenient way to add protein to your diet on the go is a protein bar. These yummy protein snacks will help you to get your needed daily protein and reduce your hunger cravings.
- We highly recommend whey protein bars (stay away from soy protein anything – bars, powder and milk).
- Skip the store-bought options and make your own healthy protein bars in your own kitchen! Asking yourself why? Simply check the packaging of many protein bars and you’ll find a list of ingredients that looks like it belongs in a science experiment. Therefore we’ll give you our favorite recipe. All natural, simple ingredients give out healthy protein bars a pure delicious taste. However, homemade protein bars have many other benefits.
The best RECIPE FOR THE HOMEMADE PROTEIN BARS
- 3 bars
Nutritional data per serving:
- 210 kcals, 18 g protein, 10 g carbs, 9 g fat, 6 g fiber
- 1/2 cup strawberry whey protein powder
- 6 tablespoons coconut flour
- 6 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/2 bar (50g) dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons chopped strawberries
- 1/10 bar (10g) white chocolate
- Mix together the protein powder, coconut flour, and almond milk. Shape the batter into three bars, and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper. For best results, chill bars for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator (this is optional, but it makes the coating easier).
- Meanwhile, melt your dark chocolate.
- Dip or coat bars in chocolate and return them to the parchment-lined cookie sheet. You can add a chopped strawberry on top, along with some extra melted chocolate. Now melt the white chocolate and simply pour that on top for aesthetics, but that is optional.
- Place in freezer or refrigerator until chocolate has hardened, and voila! Done!
4. Meal Replacements
In some ways these are similar to protein shakes (protein powders) but they do contain a lot more nutrients and other ingredients in them such as fibre and act like a full-blown meal (but without having the mess of making a meal).
Meal-replacement blends generally fall into one of two categories: those with more protein than carbs, and those with more carbs than protein. Therefore you must read labels carefully and choose wisely according to your needs. If you want to loose your weight you definitely don’t want to pick those with higher carbs content.
Although these will provide your body with the essential nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins it needs, you still have to eat some food as well. Meal replacements are a good way to give your body what it needs if you don’t have the time to eat a proper meal. In this case, something is always better than nothing.
However, we recommend protein shakes only and not the meal replacement unless your diet is really lacking fresh whole foods. In other words if your diet “stings”, you may want to consider the meal replacement shakes. They are sold in pre-measured packets, tear open mix and drinks. And ready-to-drink shakes, just shake, open and drink.
Closing thoughts: Best Sources Of Protein
Protein is definitely a key to manufacturing muscle, and latest research shows that strength trainers who are building muscle, are vegetarians, or do cross-training require slightly elevated amounts of protein. You don’t have to go overboard, though, because your body will extract exactly what it needs.
It’s always best to get protein from food. But if you’re not getting enough from your diet, protein shakes (powders), bars, and meal replacements may help. However, protein powder is still the better choice over manufactured protein bars or meal replacements because of reduced calories and sugar.
By following the recommendations in this post, you’ll get the optimal amount of protein to build muscle and maintain strength. This is due to the fact that you’ll be able to recognize the best sources of protein for your diet.