Protein intake is a very controversial subject. It’s hotly debated among fitness and nutrition gurus all over the world. Do you shift your focus to eating lots of protein or do you need a little bit more than usual? How important are fats when calculating nutrient percentages? The one thing they can agree on is that people need more protein in their diets. Proteins help keep your hair and ligaments healthy and your muscles growing. This allows you to work on your body with relative ease and prevents early burnout. Here are some ways to reach your desired protein intake goals.
Set your target
Before you get into the details, you need to know what kind of protein intake you’re aiming for. It’s a hotly debated topic with some varying opinions. Some fitness gurus recommend that you consume around ten percent of your calories in the form of protein. Those that are more oriented towards muscle building and body sculpting would recommend around thirty-five percent protein intake. If someone is recovering from a muscle or tendon injury, the numbers might be similar to bodybuilding examples. Then, there are some that would put the numbers below or between these examples. How do you tell which one is right for you?
To start, you should consider your fitness and nutritional goals. What do you wish to achieve with a balanced diet of protein? If your goal is to get a lean and healthy figure, your intake doesn’t have to take up a significant portion of your diet. However, if you intend to build large amounts of muscle in a small space, you should consider a very high-protein intake to stimulate anabolic processes.
Take into account your dietary preferences as well. Some people can’t bear to consume pure protein several times a day. Others will be able to manage, but only alongside meals that contain other elements. The truth is that it’s entirely up to the individual and their preferred nutritional goals.
Group different foods
When you’ve determined your desired protein intake for the day, you need to figure out what kind of food suits you best. Some will have a percentage of protein that goes well above your desired numbers, while others will contain little to no protein. Both of these groups contain important vitamins and minerals, but you need to manage them to get every kind of nutrient that you need.
Foods that are very high in protein, like beans and legumes, should be paired with low-protein foods to create a balanced meal. If you intend to reach a mid-range percentage of protein, adding low protein foods to offset the high protein ones would be ideal. Plus, you also benefit from the many other nutrients like fiber and vitamins that go along with both groups. Eating just legumes will not give you positive results when you take into account hunger and digestive adaptation.
Some foods are very low in protein, but they’re still essential for your dietary needs. Things like olive oil and fruit shouldn’t be neglected simply because they are low in protein. It’s important that you combine them with high-protein foods in specific dishes that make them exactly as nutritional as you need them. Fruit can be paired with nuts such as almonds and that will create a good combination for a high-protein meal.
Don’t neglect taste
One of the premier mistakes people make when creating their nutritional plan is to discount the taste of the food they make. This can often create detrimental results during the diet. If you get sick of eating the same old high-protein food, it's very likely that you'll end up eating less or skipping meals.
To avoid this, always combine your recipes in a reasonable way that will compliment your tastes. If you aren’t a very adept cook, you can always look up simple recipes for foods you don’t appreciate all that much. A lot of people find legumes to be very heavy and problematic for their digestive system, especially if they aren’t cooked right. Luckily, there are countless recipes that can give you delicious and optimal results without much effort put into them.
For foods that you already enjoy, try to combine them with things that add protein to your diet. A good stir fry might benefit from some peanuts, which have lots of protein in them. Often, these kinds of recipes will add lots of nuts and other elements that might not affect the taste, but they would add to the texture and protein content.
Adapt to your diet
When starting your new protein-rich diet, it’s important that you don’t fall under the influence of some common misconceptions. A lot of people believe that certain diets aren’t compatible with a high-protein intake. However, it’s relatively easy to adapt your diet to a higher intake of protein.
Take vegetarian and vegan diets for example. Meat is not an absolute necessity for a diet rich in protein. In fact, it’s perfectly feasible to create a meal plan that doesn’t include a bit of meat or dairy products while still getting all of your nutritional needs met. The only issue might be the cooking process. Including lots of legumes and nuts in simple recipes might oversaturate them and create a mediocre and bland meal.
If you aren’t all that good at cooking, you can always get the best healthy meals delivered to your home instead. Professional cooks will have a better grasp of how to make a very tasty high-protein meal, and you don’t have to worry about missing a single calorie. Plus, things always taste better when someone else cooks them.
Don’t forget supplements
If you find that your diet could use an extra bit of protein, supplements have you covered. It’s one of the most common methods for adding additional protein to a diet. Protein powders are extremely popular among bodybuilders and nutritional enthusiasts alike. This isn’t without good reason, either.
Protein supplements have a variety of benefits. For starters, they’re pretty easy to prepare. Mix the powder with some water or milk and you’ve got yourself a full-blown batch of healthy protein. It’s a lot easier than cooking an entire meal, and you get just as much protein as you would from a heavy meal.
Drinking it bland is not the recommended way to consume protein shakes. It would be a surefire way to get tired of the taste. They’re usually mixed in with various fruits and nuts to give some more flavor. Bananas and strawberries are very popular additions to protein shakes because they go extremely well with the milky texture. In some cases, people create an entire nutritional shake to go with their usual protein. This allows you to enjoy it a lot more, while also getting all the nutritional benefits and then some.
Organizing your protein intake is a lot easier than it sounds. You don’t have to be a nutritional expert to get it right. In fact, just about any layman can add a little or a lot of protein to their diet with some small changes. The important thing is that you know what to add to your diet and how to add it. Make sure you consider some of these tips before forming your nutritional plan. It’s going to save you a lot of headaches.