Most of the folks that I run into need more protein in their diet. Significantly more.
What I am hearing is that people find getting enough protein in their diet a chore, especially when “on the go”. No one likes chores. And, no one likes the feeling of working hard to lose weight or get fit and not seeing results.
There are many ways to ensure that your health and fitness efforts yield results – one of them is by eating enough protein. It is recommended that women consume 46g of protein a day and men 56g. If you are working out and trying to lose or maintain weight then you want to aim 20-30g higher then this. At first this is hard but after a week or two of getting used to it, then seeing and feelings results-it will become easier.
“Our research suggests that higher-protein diets help people better control their appetites and calorie intake,” says researcher Donald Layman, PhD, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“Diets higher in protein [and] moderate in carbs, along with a lifestyle of regular exercise, have an excellent potential to reduce blood lipids [and] maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel without dieters being sidetracked with constant hunger.”
When you increase your protein is doesn’t mean that your daily calories should increase. Instead you make more protein-oriented food choices. Hard-boiled egg whites are a great source of extra protein without a lot of calories. Chicken meatballs (chicken meatball/veggie skewers anyone?) and organic uncured chicken hot dogs are some fun ways to get in that extra protein and not feel so bored with chicken.
When I have to drop a few pounds for the camera and still be very fit, I add hardboiled egg whites, apple slices, and low fat cheese as snacks to my diet. These snacks are whole, unprocessed, foods that your body easily burns through. It utilizes the nutrients from each, effectively keep your metabolism going while giving you the nutrition you need for lean and tight muscles.
I know that it’s hard to find protein, veggies and whole unprocessed food on the run. Especially when you are trying to get in at least 2-3 servings of veggies and 4-5 solid servings of protein.
Here are some suggestions for convenience store, 7-11 or gas station snacks: (great for kids too)
Nuts– the less coatings the better
Fruit– there are almost always fruit like bananas or apple
Yogurt– most of the places have a tiny dairy section
String cheese– little dairy section. Check the dates on the package.
Granola bars or low sugar/ low fat protein bars– check the labels, stay below 13g of sugar and 8 grams of fat.
Trail Mix– be careful of portion control on this one
Always buy yourself a water, you will need it at some point if not right at that moment.
Remember when you are on the go and limited in options, your goal is to fuel your body with the best choice, which may not always be the most exciting.
Subway Sandwich shops are another good option when you are in an unfamiliar area. They are everywhere.
Almost everywhere you go these days it is possible to find foods that don’t completely sabotage your good eating habits. They may not be that fresh or delicious but you can get by and be better for choosing them.
Consistency and persistency is your key to success in anything- this especially applies to health and fitness!