In the past decade, we have seen a rise in awareness among people about healthy eating and leading a healthy lifestyle. We have seen gyms and fitness centers spring up in almost every other street in our vicinity, isn’t it? Everybody seems to have stepped on this journey of weight loss to get fitter and healthier. Even the pandemic situation that the novel coronavirus brought into our lives did not stop the fitness enthusiasts from achieving their fitter goals.
When we talk about weight loss we all know that eating healthy and clean is as vital as exercising. However, exercising seems easier than sticking to healthy eating. There are a lot of things that need to be considered when you eat healthily – you need to watch what you eat, you need to keep in mind the proportions that you take, you need to tally up all the nutrients, proteins, fiber intake, etc. Amongst all these nutrients, it is the protein that takes away the crown!
Why is protein so important for weight loss?
You see, there is a valid reason for the fitter men and women at the gym and their love for protein shakes. When you bump protein iron into your body it is the protein that begins the repairing work of all the tiny tears that working out at the gym ends up creating in your muscles. If you eat more protein that helps your muscles grow faster and bigger.
Even health experts say that one needs to take protein not just for dinner but all day long if they want to maximize their gains. A study from the University of Texas found out that it is the muscle protein synthesis that acts as a driving force behind muscle growth. And this muscle growth is 25% greater amongst people who eat protein all day long which is 30 grams of protein in every meal they eat. Also, protein helps you feel full for longer thereby reducing your appetite and cravings. Proteins also help in regulating blood sugar levels and help in building a strong immune system. So if you are someone who is keen on losing weight or gaining muscles then get your fix by including more protein into your meals. And if you’re wondering how you will be able to achieve it, we have rounded up 10 easy ways of increasing protein intake. Read on and pick the one that suits you best.
- Consider eating your proteins first
The main reason why we are asking you to eat protein sources first while you are eating a meal is that protein helps increase the production of a gut hormone called PYY – this is the hormone that helps you feel satisfied and full after meals. Also, when you eat a lot of proteins your body decreases the production of ghrelin which is a hunger hormone and it also increases your body’s metabolism rate while you are sleeping. It doesn’t end here because protein also helps your insulin levels and blood sugar levels to be at an optimum range even after your meals. Some studies back how type two diabetes people when they consumed vegetables and proteins before eating any starchy foods, their insulin and blood sugar levels raised less.
- Eat eggs more than your cereals
Cereals are nothing short of a universal breakfast that is eaten by people worldwide. But most people are not aware that breakfast foods like cereals, even bagels, and toast or low in protein. In the world of cereals, it is only the oatmeal that contains a significant amount of protein; however, it contains just 6 g for every one cup of serving.
Now coming to the world of Eggs, if you eat three large eggs you are giving your body 19 g of not just any ordinary protein but high-quality protein along with some vital nutrients like choline and selenium.
If this did not convince you to eat eggs for breakfast, let us tell you about certain studies that have proved that eating eggs for breakfast keeps you full for several hours and also reduces your appetite. Eating whole eggs also modifies the shape and size of your LDL, the bad cholesterol particles in your body in a manner that you are at a much decreased risk of contracting heart disease.
- Consider cheese when you are in a mood to snack on
There’s something about the word snakes that attracts us, isn’t it? While most of us take to snakes only as a form of hugging or eating junk, have you ever thought of converting the very snakes into healthy versions of treats? In fact, we think that one can make use of snacks to add that extra protein into your everyday diet. All the normal snack foods like chips, crackers, and pretzels are extremely low in protein. In contrast, if we eat cheese like shatter cheese, it includes 7 g of proteins along with fewer calories and not to forget four times more calcium in it. Besides, cheese doesn’t increase cholesterol levels even among people who have high cholesterol problems. On the contrary, cheese actually benefits heart health.
- Opt for Greek yogurt
In today’s world, Greek yogurt is one dish that is considered to be very versatile and extremely high in protein content. A 240 g of Greek yogurt serving provides us with nearly 20 g of protein and yes it also depends on the brand of the Greek yogurt that we use, however, this is twice the amount of protein that we find in traditional yogurt. Coming to the health benefits, Greek yogurt amplifies gut hormones like PYY and GLP-1 which are known to make you feel full and reduce hunger cravings.
- Use almonds as toppings
In the world of nuts, almonds are considered to be the healthiest. They are high in fiber, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, magnesium, and low in carbs. They also contain a good amount of protein that is 6 g for every 28 g of serving. Consider topping your salads, oatmeal, yogurt, or even your smoothie with some chopped almonds to up your protein intake and also add that nutty crunch and flavor to your dish.
- Include protein-rich ingredients in your salad
During weight loss, most of us turn to salads, isn’t it? Salads are one of the dishes that are loaded with all things good. How about adding some grams of protein to your salads and amplifying its health quotient?
Consider the following foods if you want to add protein to your salad: chicken breast, cheese, Salmon, tuna, turkey breast, etc. if you are looking for plant-based options then chickpeas are a great choice.
- Indulge in lentils
For vegetarians, lentils are one of the staple food options. While lentils might seem boring, they are an excellent source of protein and can be added to anything right from a soup to a curry. Take advantage of the versatility of lentils and add them to your diet to increase the protein quotient.
- Peanut butter and fruits
Well, this might sound like an odd pairing but let’s not forget that fruits are rich in nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. However, they do not have much protein content in them. But peanut butter on the other hand is a food that has high protein content and its creamy texture is something that will complement fresh-cut fruits like pears and apples. Make a smoothie out of fruits and peanut butter or just spread some peanut butter on a sliced apple to boost your protein intake.
- Munching on Edamame
Edamame Is the term used for steamed soybeans when they are in an unripened form. Just 1 cup of these will contain approximately 17 g of proteins and just 180 cal. These beans are rich in antioxidants and help in reducing blood sugar and promote weight loss. They make for a great snack and can also be added to your usual stir-fry recipes.
- Eat lean meats
Chicken breast, prawns, fish — these are all lean meats that are excellent sources of proteins. They are rich in essential nutrients which are required for the body and also help in losing those extra pounds. Eating more lean meat will ensure that your protein intake is amplified.
We need to ensure that your body gets enough protein — it is very important! Including good quantities of proteins in your everyday diet will ensure that you lose your extra weight sooner as well as gain those muscles thereby improving your body’s metabolic health and its overall composition.