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As a part of my drive to improve my health through better diet and exercise, I’ve become convinced that a high-protein, high-fat, low-carb diet is the way for me to go.
Although not an easy switch for me to make – I’m a long-time carb-oholic (and it shows!) – I’ve come up with these four great reasons to eat protein, AND 4 steps to help you switch over to a more protein-rich diet!
4 Reasons to Eat Protein
There has been a long-standing debate between fats and carbohydrates as the leading cause of obesity and weight gain. In fact, it is still going on right now. But when it comes to protein it is a little more straightforward.
Eating enough protein is important to keep the body fit and healthy. The right kind ensures that your metabolism working correctly, that you have enough energy and that your blood sugar is at a safe level.
Most people don’t understand how essential proteins are to the body and you might be surprised about all that it can do for you and your body.
Are you more of a carbs person and not much of a protein eater?
Below are some compelling reasons to consider putting more protein into your diet!
Trying to Lose Weight? Protein is the Answer
Over the years people have thought that eating more protein would make you gain weight.
That isn’t true.
The protein that you eat helps your body function properly. That includes helping with your weight – whether by gaining or losing. In fact, if you’re trying to lose weight, increasing your intake of protein is your best bet.
Protein has the ability to keep you feeling full for longer. It reduces your levels of ghrelin – the hunger hormone and increases peptide YY – which in turn keeps cravings and hunger at bay.
Bulk Up with the Right Type of Protein
Protein is integral in building muscle because muscle is primarily made up of protein. If you are physically active, keeping your protein levels high would prevent you from losing muscle while still losing weight.
However, there are several types of protein and it is important to choose the right type of protein to eat. Think of vegetables, nuts, and eggs.
Protein powders or drinks could be an essential part of your diet if you want to build muscle and lose weight.
Protein Keeps Your Bones Healthy
Unfortunately, protein is misunderstood. There are people who believe that protein increases the acid in the body; prompting the bones to surrender their calcium in order to neutralize the acid.
But this isn’t true. In fact, the opposite is true. People who consume more protein have better bone mass than those who don’t. Plus, they are less likely to develop osteoporosis and fractures.
This can come in handy when you’re exercising regularly. You don’t want to get injured during a workout session, so by eating more protein, you’ll reduce the risk.
Injured? Loading Up on Protein Will Speed Up Your Recovery
The strings of amino acids found in protein-rich food options are the main building blocks of the body. So the nutrient that is integral in repairing and healing your body after an injury is essential. Protein is that nutrient.
Protein will help your body in more ways than one in your diet. Consider adding more to your diet so that you can have all the benefits it provides.
Get Some Great High-Protein Recipes!
Once you make the decision to take up the high-protein lifestyle, you’re going to want to find some great recipes to get you started. Here are some awesome high-protein recipe books available on Amazon!
4 Step to Help You Switch to a High Protein Diet
Whether you trying to lose weight or are in the process of building muscle, consuming the right amount and type of protein is important in reaching your fitness goals. It might be easy for some to replace their grains and carbs with salmon and steaks.
However, there are people who prefer their diets to be loaded with carbohydrates and fat. So, the shift to a protein-rich diet would be more of an uphill battle for them. (Like me!)
Are you one of these individuals? Don’t worry, you’ll find easy to implement steps below to help you switch to a high protein diet.
1. Prepare and Plan Ahead
Like with all major fitness and health changes, the beginning is always the hardest.
If you’re used to buying your food mindlessly, shifting to a protein-rich diet can be overwhelming and confusing. Not only that, but it can wreak havoc on your budget if you don’t prepare and plan ahead. In order to be successful, do your research and come prepared.
Take the time and plan your weekly menu ahead of time. Pick a day like Sunday where you’ll figure out your weekly or bi-weekly menu schedule. Then go shopping for the food. When you get back prep your meals.
Prepping could mean cooking enough chicken for your weekly salads at lunch, chopping vegetables and fruit and putting them in containers or creating Mason jar salads.
This is an essential step to your success. Everything will be ready and you won’t be tempted to stop at fast food on the way home.
(For more help on this – check out my post on Meal Planning & Prep For Busy People!)
2. Rid Your Pantry of Unhealthy Snacks and Food Options
As they say – out of sight, out of mind.
In order to remain faithful to the change, get rid of the snacks and food items you are likely to cheat with. This does not mean you have to throw them out. If they are still good to eat take them to the food bank.
This might be expensive the first month, but you won’t be tempted when you’re having a rough day sticking with your diet or if you’ve had a stressful day.
3. Replace Cereals with a Protein Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
In order to start your workday right, eat a protein filled breakfast. This could be eggs, nonfat Greek yogurt with granola and fruit or homemade high-protein muffins.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring just because you switch to a high protein diet. In fact, there are great recipes out there that will give you ideas of what you can eat.
4. Add Protein To Your Salad
Having a salad is a great way to add more protein to your diet. If you are bulking up, the last thing you want is to lose the mass you would eventually turn into muscles and eating your greens will help. You can do that with salad.
There are several ways you can create a protein-rich salad! The salad itself can be loaded with protein if you add the right type of greens. Some of those can be kale, sprouts, spinach, broccoli and Brussel Sprouts.
To get even more into your salad add smoked Salmon, canned tuna or chicken to the top. Adding prawns is my personal favorite!
Once you get out of the mindset that adding more protein to your diet is hard you’ll start to see more ways to get it done. Protein isn’t just found in meats. Just remember there are several types of foods that contain it.
One Day At A Time
Start with the steps above and once you’ve incorporated these into your diet start branching out into switching your comfort food for the protein-loaded version. Take it one day at a time and you’ll accomplish what you set out to do in no time.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Do you eat a high-protein diet? If so, share some of your favorite protein-rich foods or recipes with us in the ‘Comments’ section below! (I know I need all the help with this I can get!)