How To: Sneak in More Protein Throughout Your Day

We probably have heard before that we should increase our protein intake; that the average physically active individual takes in far too little protein than they should to yield results.  But getting in the adequate amounts of lean protein can present a challenge for us with our busy, on-the-go lives. So how do these fitness freaks do it? How do they reach their required protein intake day in and day out? Here are some simple tips to getting closer to those protein goals each and every day:

  1. Plan Ahead: Whatever your schedule may look like, whether it’s crazy and hectic or working for home, we need to devise a plan that will work for our lifestyle.  Yes, some sacrifices may be necessary, but as long as they’re small changes at a time, anything is possible.  Start with one day at a time.  The night before, visualize your next day from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to sleep.  Depending on your day, you have approximately 15 hours to get enough protein in.  Do you commute to work? Are you jammed with meetings all day? Do you spend most of the day shuffling your kids from school to soccer practice then piano lessons? Whatever your daily schedule may be, start to analyze every minute of what it will look like.  After visualizing the day in its entirety, you can have a clearer understanding of when you would need to eat throughout the day(aim for every 3 hours).  And for those times when you are busy during the three hour mark, that is when you plan for on-the-go snacks and/or possibly double up on your protein serving the meal prior.
  2. Bring On-The-Go Protein Packed Snacks: After planning ahead, we have a pretty good understanding of when we’ll need to utilize some on-the-go snacks.  Some great snacks for those in between meals can be:
                • 3 hard boiled eggs = 21g of protein
                • a serving of nuts = 7g of protein
                • a protein supplement ready to go in a blender bottle (just add water or milk substitute beverage (I use Suja plant based protein milk because it contains 8g of protein per serving!)) = 20-35g of protein
                • an RX Bar
                • celery and a serving of nut butter = 7g of protein
                • a protein filled smoothie = 20-35g of protein

All of these snacks are great to sub in for those times when sitting down for a full meal is just not an option. Incorporating these snacks can greatly improve your daily protein intake and maximize your fat loss results.

  1. Eat Every 3 Hours: This tip plays a pivotal role in your daily protein consumption. Eating every 3 hours also allows you to portion your meals better since you physically won’t be hungry enough to consume more.  This guideline keeps our metabolism going and keeps us satiated throughout the day to avoid falling into unhealthily carb temptation. 
  2. Focus Every Meal Around Protein:  This may sound a bit silly, but if you’re not thinking about protein, you’re probably not reaching adequate amounts throughout the day. What is the amount of protein you should be eating a day? (If you’re unsure, set up Virtual Nutrition Coaching to ensure you are on the right track!) Then divide that amount by 5.  That is how much protein you should be eating at every meal time. And if and when you don’t reach the amount of protein you were supposed to eat for that meal time, you can always increase for the next meal.
  3. Track Your Protein: Once you know how much protein you should be consuming everyday, now start to track it! Download a food logging app, like MyFitnessPal, and start to track everything you eat.  It may sound tedious at first, but once you track for a couple of days the app will remember what you ate for your meals and allows you to just copy from the previous day (given you ate the same thing).  It also creates a database for all of your most utilized food items so everything is extremely easy and simple to track.  If we fail to track our daily intake it can be incredibly easy to overestimate how much protein we actually ate that day.  Also, tracking helps you stay on track! When you are visually monitoring your macro intake, you have the power to make more strategic choices for your meals to ensure you are getting adequate protein.
  4. First, Eat Protein. Then, Eat Everything Else: When you’re sitting down for a meal, focus on consuming the protein on your plate first before tackling the rest of the foods.  This ensures that you will eat all of the protein on your plate instead of filling up on carbs and fats.  

As you know when we fail to plan, we plan to fail! Start using these smart tips to help you stay on track with your protein intake!