We all need protein. No matter your age, you’re weight, or dietary preference, protein is essential to our health and often a primary recommendation when coaching individuals on how to improve their nutrition and meal quality. Although many people will say they know that protein is important, many struggle to reach that full intake requirement. The reasons are many and can vary on individual needs, wants, but a little preparation and some creative inspiration go a long way toward ensuring you reach your optimal intake. DO YOU GET ENOUGH? Learn how much protein you need and gain how-to tips for getting in more quality protein throughout your day.
So, how much protein do you need? We have talked about protein intake amounts and sources before and often reference the ISSN ( International Society of Sports Nutrition) recommendation of 1.4-2.0 grams per kilogram of body-weight to get your total recommended grams per day. When coaching clients remotely or in person, i often take that total gram recommendation and distribute it amongst all of the daily meals. This way they reap the benefits of protein throughout the day versus just one large, protein heavy meal at the end of the day.
If you’re tracking your food on myfitnesspal.com (my #1 choice, due to abilities) myPlan, MyPLATE, or any other online tracker, you can confirm whether or not you’re getting enough total grams and see how your protein varies throughout the day. Not into tracking your meals? You can use the ” hand method” approach instead. For women, i often recommend a hand size portion of a protein rich food at every meal and for men two hand -size portions.
Below are some of the most common obstacles that I get from clients who struggle with adequate protein intake, as well as clear strategies to address them.
IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE
Generally speaking, high quality protein-rich foods will cost more than highly processed convenience foods. When coaching my clients, I warn them that their grocery bill will be higher. It’s all in the name of health, and health is wealth. Sickness is a much higher bill to have to take care of. Here are a few tips on successfully transitioning to healthier food while keeping your pockets intact.
When shopping for protein, organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised and cage free are all words you want to look for to find the best quality sources. If you are just starting to transition to the Healthy Way of Life, consider shifting your meat sources gradually to avoid overwhelming your grocery budget. The first priority is to start dumping the processed foods and replacing them with protein-rich ones. Once that becomes a habit, start looking and utilizing more high quality sources.
– GET TO KNOW A FARMER-
Buying meat and produce from a farmers market or local farm is one of the best ways you can save money as well as support your area economy.
Ground meats generally cost less than steaks or other “fancier” cuts. I often encourage my clients to buy ground meat to save money and encourage them to use the meats a few different ways during the week to keep up variety.
-BUY IN BULK-
Never buy less than a pound of certain meat at a time. Buying in bulk allows you to save money ounce per ounce. Once you get the hang of planning and shopping for meals, you’ll get an idea of how much chicken, fish, or beef you’ll go through over time. At that point, consider larger bulk purchases. this could range from buying ground beef in 3-4 pound packages to purchasing half a cow from a farmer.
These are just a few tips to help you get started on your fitness journey to creating a better you.
Health is Wealth.