Why do you need more protein in your diet? How to start?
Why you need to eat more protein, and how to start.
‘I was always having late-night cravings, binge eating and feeling fatigued after workouts, until I learnt I wasn’t eating enough protein. Now I’m in control of my diet and am the healthiest I’ve ever felt.’ – Cameler customer
What is protein?
When picturing a balanced meal, protein is likely one of the main components you see on your plate, whether you’re aware of it or not. Perhaps chicken, rice and broccoli, or steak, with mash and asparagus. Protein is often a dish's main component, and for good reason.
Just to rejig your memory, protein is found primarily in animal produce such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. However, if you follow a plant-based diet, you can find all the protein you need from sources such as tofu, legumes, or nuts.
We know protein is an undisputed stable for a healthy body and mind, however, many people overlook the importance of how much protein they consume daily, and why it is so important.
This blog answers those questions and shows you some easy ways to add more protein to your favourite meals!
Benefits of Protein
- Lose fat by eating more! Yes, that’s right. A study was conducted with two groups trying to lose fat, one group ate fewer calories and less protein, while the other group consumed 250 more calories, all from extra protein. The high protein group lost twice as much body fat. Consider eating more protein if you’re trying to lose body fat and keep it off. Throw away crash diets and introduce this lifelong sustainable diet adjustment that also prevents weight regain.
- Reduces cravings - Protein-dense meals are more filling and satisfying, reducing cravings, and the possibility of late-night snacking.
- Burns more calories - Protein is the most metabolically active macronutrient. It will boost your metabolism, burning up to 30% of calories.
- Gain and maintain muscle mass. Our muscles are made of protein, so a high-protein diet is essential for repairing ripped muscle tissue post-workout. If you’re hitting the gym without focusing on a protein-rich diet, you may be wondering why you’re not making much progress! All weight lifters owe their muscle growth to a high-protein diet. Even if heavy weightlifting isn’t your cup of tea, protein maintains the muscle mass you already have, helping your body stay strong and fit as you age, and for the development of a younger body.
- Improves bone density and lowers blood pressure. As we age our bone mass deteriorates. Eating enough protein can improve bone health, lowering our risk of fractures and fragile bones. It also lowers blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
How much protein do we need?
The recommended amount of protein is around 0.8g per gram of body weight, which can be calculated using an online calculator. Try increasing your protein intake to 25-35% of your daily calories.
How to eat more protein
When it comes to protein, perhaps the UK’s most negligent meal of the day is breakfast. While a fry-up with meat and eggs is loved by the nation, it just isn’t convenient on those rushed mornings. It’s no wonder that around 80% of British opt for the classic breakfast cereal or a bowl of oats.
Don’t fear, we aren’t advising you to cut anything out of your diet! Consider adding rather than subtracting to your meals to increase the nutrient intake.
Protein powder - An easy way to add up to 20g of protein to your oats or cereal is with a scoop of protein powder. However you should do your research on brands that do protein.
Protein powder can be a great "plant-based" way to easily up the protein intake, and you can get creative with how you use it! It can be great for sweet dishes - think oats, pancake mixes, and even cookie or cake batter. Adding a scoop to your cereal milk will make it feel like a cereal milkshake. However, it should be noted that it is always encouraged to get protein from real natural food. You should always aim to cook from scratch as you're then in control of unrefined ingredients.
Try some of our delicious recipes, with some advice on how to enhance a normal recipe to fit your protein requirements. Spices and herbs are the perfect way to enhance protein flavours in a healthy way. Protein doesn't have to be boring.
The cameleer’s porridge.
You can try our porridge recipe as it is, or for a high-protein version, simply stir a scoop of protein powder of your choice into your oats with milk before cooking. Adding one serving of cashew butter and a serving of hazelnut nuts to garnish your porridge will not only make it more delicious but add an extra little 5g of protein and some healthy fats! Altogether, you’ll have 27.8g of protein.
Banana and Oatmeal Pancake
These pancakes are already a great source of protein thanks to their eggs, with 12g of protein. But with a scoop of protein powder, you’ve got yourself an even more satiating breakfast! Consider adding some Greek yoghurt to top your pancakes – a small 100g serving packs in an extra 10g of protein!
This hummus recipe has a natural 10g of protein and is a delicious starter or side dish.
This Lasagna has 32g of protein per serving. It is the perfect way to combine meat, cheese and milk providing protein from a range of sources.
Plenty of meat, with 41g of protein per serving!
Cheese and Ham toastie
This delicious toastie has 23g of protein per serving. To up the protein even more, consider finding some high-protein bread!
This blog has been compiled Lucy Round University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University undergraduate.