Protein is a macronutrient that is essential for a number of processes within the body, including the building and repairing of muscle. Many people overlook the importance of protein in their diet because they think it is only for ‘bodybuilders’ or people who want to get ‘buff’. It is important to understand that simply eating protein will not turn you into the Hulk! Because it is a macronutrient, our bodies need protein every single day to be able to function properly. I personally prefer to receive my protein from food sources, rather than powders, but this is my own personal preference.
Here are some of my favourite food sources of protein:
Eggs are a great high protein food, especially because they are so easy to incorporate into a variety of meals. They are a staple of mine either at breakfast or lunch, because they help to keep me full and energised throughout the day. They may also help to keep your cravings for ‘bad’ foods and fluctuating blood sugar levels at bay. For an easy breakfast or lunch, toast some rye bread and top with avocado, two poached eggs, a drizzle of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Greek yoghurt is another great source of protein that naturally contains all nine essential amino acids. It can also be great for your health because it contains probiotics, which are ‘good bacteria’ that can help to keep your digestive system healthy and balanced. Enjoy some Greek yoghurt with berries or banana for a great post-workout snack.
This one probably comes as no surprise to many of you, as chicken is a popular protein choice for many meals. One of the best things about eating chicken as a source of protein is that it has a high thermogenic effect. This means you can burn about 30% of calories that it contains simply by eating it. For example, a 300 calorie chicken breast, requires about 90 calories to break down. It also contains all nine essential amino acids, is low in saturated fat, and is incredibly versatile!
If you are looking for a vegetarian source of protein, lentils are a great choice! One cup of cooked lentils contains about 10 grams of protein. It is important to understand that lentils are not a complete protein as they do not contain all nine essential amino acids. By eating other plant foods, such as whole grains, throughout the day you should be able meet your daily protein requirements. Lentils taste great in salads and soups, just remember not to overcook them or they can go mushy!
If you are looking to add a little boost of protein to your smoothies or salads, add in a small handful of walnuts! As well as containing protein, these little beauties contain essential fatty acids and a number of vitamins and minerals. They are the perfect snack post-workout, especially if you mix them with some Greek yoghurt and berries or just on their own!
So there you have it girls, some amazing natural sources of protein that you can eat on a daily basis. What are your favourite ways to eat protein?
Love, Kayla xx