I often get asked why protein is good when you’re trying to lose weight and get fit and how to get more protein in your diet so hopefully this blog post will help to answer those questions for you!
I studied BSc Sport and Exercise Science at Exeter University so I studied a lot about body composition and physiology and something that always came up was how important protein is for your body and muscles. Proteins are the building blocks of life, every cell in your body contains protein (amino acid chains). Protein helps to repair body cells and make new ones, so protein is important for absolutely everyone but especially important if you’re working out.
When you work-out, particularly resistance training, your muscle fibres break-down and eventually repair themselves – they make new, bigger muscle fibres after breaking, that’s why our muscles grow. Having a protein source straight after exercise will really facilitate the repair and growth of your muscles.
Sources of Protein:
Protein Shake: I swear by the Protein World Slender Blend range! My favourite is the chocolate! PW have been incredibly supportive and nurturing of me during my weight loss and fitness journey. Protein World have also recently launched a new Vegan Protein World shake which is amazing because it can be a little tricky to find a good tasting vegan protein!
BCAAs: similar to protein powder, these are an amino-acid type power to be consumed immediately before/during/after your workout!
Greek yoghurt: Fage 0% total yoghurt is my favourite greek yoghurt – high protein, low sugar, no fat!
Eggs: if you’re eating eggs by themselves, they can get pretty boring, trying adding a spoonful of Colman’s English Mustard for a big kick. (I also work for Colman’s so that’d make me very happy haha!)
Nuts and seeds: pumpkin seeds, peanuts, pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, chia seeds, cashews, walnuts and SO many more! Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, especially for vegans!
Meat and Fish: meat and fish is the most obvious source of protein, chicken breasts, a tin of tuna, beef jerkey, turkey mince etc. Try and opt for a lean meat to save consuming excess fat.
Cottage Cheese: I personally don’t like cottage cheese but at 11g protein per 100g, I can’t knock it.
Protein bar: there are so many great Protein bars out there. I love Meridian peanut bars, Grenade Carb Killa bars, Bounce balls, the Protein Ball company and there are also lots of great recipes online to make your own.
Peanut butter: I feel about Peanut Butter the way most people feel about Nutella – I could eat jars of the stuff! Spread on some wholemeal toast, on apple slices, stirred in to porridge or even a teaspoon straight from the jar! Peanut Butter brands whom I love and have shown me some love back are Meridian (best for alternative flavours), Pip & Nut (best for their AMAZING squeezy sachets) and Whole Earth (great for a thicker crunchy PB).
Beans and lentils: I always have a bag of dry roasted soybeans on my desk because they’re the perfect high protein snack IMO. Boiled pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas and kidney beans are also great for protein.
Edamame beans: I know this should be technically included in the above ‘beans and lentils’ category but they are SO fab, they’re getting their own mention. I think edamame beans are so good for you and beyond delicious – especially with a sprinkle of rock salt and/or chilli flakes.
I hope this has been informative and helpful! Let me know what you think and if there are any other questions you want me to cover in future!