Most of us want to lose weight, but there are also those who like to gain weight – the right way.
Bodybuilders and gym fanatics like to have bulging muscles, and this is not done overnight. It takes discipline, the right lifestyle and a lot of protein.
What does protein do?
It is a very vital component of our body. Do you realize that even our hair and nails are made of protein?
Protein is used by our body to repair and build tissues. Our body needs protein to build muscles, bones, skin and even blood.
How much protein do we need?
Protein is one of the macronutrients, meaning our bodies need a significant amount of it.
On the other hand, vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients because we only need it in a small amount.
Protein is not stored in the body so we cannot have reserve supply when we need it.
That is why it has to be regularly consumed.
When is the best time to consume protein?
The best time is after a workout because our muscles are being broken down during exercise, so we need protein after to do repair work.
For best results, consume protein with carbohydrates so our body will absorb it easier thereby maximizing the conversion to muscles.
Where can protein be found?
Foods rich in protein are meat, seafood, dairy products, beans, protein shakes and a lot more.
Try to integrate as much protein as we can in our diet.
Let me suggest a few ways you can do this:
Eat protein first. Usually, we start a meal with something less heavy – like soup or a salad.
However, there is wisdom in starting with protein, mainly before we consume the carbohydrates.
Protein will make us feel fuller, and it decreases the ‘hunger hormone.’ So when we eat protein first, we will not be eating a whole lot after it.
The key to proper diet is to regulate our intake of foods and to consume only the ones our bodies need.
SHAKE UP BREAKFAST
Enjoy protein shakes for breakfast. I love a filling protein shake after a workout. It is refreshing, and I can literally feel my muscles bulging from this protein source.
There are a lot of options for breakfast protein shakes + smoothies. There can be fruits, vegetables, milk or yogurt, and protein powder.
The shakes are healthy, fresh and a right mix of vitamins, minerals, and protein. We can also make them at home quickly with best blenders for protein shakes.
There are different types of protein powder. My personal favorite is whey, but there are also soy, pea, and egg protein. A scoop of whey protein powder is equivalent to 20 grams of protein.
Sometimes, I also add peanut butter or chia seeds to my protein shake for more protein and to give a twist to the usual taste.
Having protein shakes have two best benefits:
- We can use it as a meal replacement to lose weight;
- The protein shake plus more protein diet can beef up our muscles.
Protein shakes will give us the heavy, full feeling so after drinking one; we will not be hungry for a while, thus eliminating food binges and weight gain. And of course, losing weight will also mean healthy diet and exercise.
Remember that protein is the building blocks of muscles?
So when we consume much of it with protein shakes and chunky steak, coupled with the right exercise training, we can be serious bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Snack on cheese. We often see cheese with a burger or with pasta, but it can be a snack favorite, too.
Most snacks like chips and crackers have shallow protein content. Cheese, on the other hand, is a dairy product rich in protein. It can be cubed and eaten with fruits, nuts or wheat bread.
Not all cheese is created equal. Regarding protein content, a cup of cottage cheese has 25 grams of protein.
In a research study, it was proven that women who consumed high-protein and high-dairy lost more belly fat and gained more muscles. This is the kind of weight gain we want.
Instead of cereals, eat eggs. Breakfast items, in general, have low protein content. Cereals have less than 6 grams of protein for a one-cup serving. Three large eggs have 19 grams of protein, along with other healthy nutrients.
Eggs also are more filling and will keep us feeling full for a while longer. It also has beneficial effects on heart diseases.
At the very least, we can boil an egg and enjoy it with your toast. Or we can throw in some vegetables and cheese for a delicious omelet.
Choose Greek yogurt. This delicious, creamy food contains high protein. It is versatile and can be consumed so many ways.
We can mix this into our protein shake instead of milk. We can also mix it in with the scrambled eggs.
Or, it can be eaten as a snack by itself or as a dip to chips. To balance the tangy taste, we can pair it with some sweet fruit like berries.
A usual serving of 8 oz. contains 17 – 20 grams of protein, and can reduce hunger and make us feel full. Compared to regular yogurt, this amount is twice much more.
PROTEIN IN SALAD
Add protein-rich ingredients to the salad. When we watch our weight, we consume salads in bigger amounts.
We usually have vegetables in our salad, and it is an excellent source of vitamins, anti-oxidants, and minerals.
Have you ever wondered why we feel hungry an hour after eating a salad? It contains a minimal amount of protein thus the hunger pangs.
Put some weight into your salad by adding chicken (30 grams) or salmon (25 grams) or tuna (26 grams) or cheese (22 grams). Aside from these, you can also add protein-rich greens, like chickpeas.
Eat leaner meat, but bigger cuts. It is okay to eat meat and make the most of it by choosing bigger cuts. Be more careful about the kind of meat, than its quantity.
Lean meats like top sirloin steak contain 24 grams of protein as against a fatty cut of rib eye steak that only has 18 grams.
The best way to make sure a slab of meat is thoroughly cooked but still juicy, use the method of sous vide. We put the meat inside a food bag along with its marinade. Then we vacuum-seal it. Then we give it a water bath at high temperature. This will lock in the marinade into the meat ensuring juicy, tender and evenly-cooked meats.
Eat canned fish. We don’t even have to go to the river to fish; a trip to the supermarket will give us a good source of protein.
Canned fish has many benefits. It is easy to bring even on camping trips. It does not require to be refrigerated. It can be a meal or snack by itself or can be enjoyed as a sandwich, with salad or even with chips.
A good-sized serving of 100 grams of canned fish can already give us 20 – 25 grams of protein.
The best kinds of fish are salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines. They are not only rich in protein, but also has a high content of omega-3 which is good for the heart.
GO NUTS WITH ALMONDS
Eat almonds. They are delicious and healthy, rich in fiber, monounsaturated fat, and magnesium. A single serve of 28 grams contains 6 grams of protein.
Among the other kinds of nuts, almonds have the highest protein content.
We can enjoy almonds as a snack, add it to our salads, mix with yogurt, or eat with cottage cheese.
The healthiest way to consume almonds is without its skin. Soak the almonds overnight and in the morning, remove its skin. The brown skin contains tannin which prevents absorption of nutrients.
Aside from being a good source of protein, almonds also aid digestion, is good for the heart and promotes weight loss.
Pair peanut butter and fruits. Nuts are rich in protein, while fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals. What better way to eat healthy than to incorporate both to enjoy more nutritional benefits.
Don’t we love the creamy texture of peanut butter? It is excellent with bread, with a protein shake and now as a fruit dip.
Instead of using heavy creams as dips, we can use peanut butter instead. They go great with pears and apples.
Just spread the peanut butter on top of a slice, and enjoy the blend of creaminess and crunch.
Finally, be mindful of what we eat. But also, enjoy it! They say healthy foods are bland. But we know better how to add protein to our diet the delicious way!