Is it just me who has a hard time getting enough protein in each day?
If I’m not careful I can quickly fill up on carby goodness without even realizing. Protein for a long time was hit and miss in my day, and that’s a huge bummer. It wasn’t until I realized everything it does and how good I feel when I have enough that I decided to make it a priority. It’s always easier for me to do something when I know the “why”. I need it? Great. Explain to me why and I might actually do it. Once I know how it affects my life I’m far more likely to make it a priority.
Since I’m surly not the only one who processes things this way I figured I’d break down what protein does, what happens when you don’t get enough, and how to fix the problem. Spoiler: If you have trouble losing weight you need to listen up! This is big if you want to drop pounds and gain muscle.
What does protein do?
Protein is a huge building block for your body. Hair, nails, and the bigger ticket items like bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood are all made up of protein. Your body needs it to keep these areas running smoothly.
Protein is a macronutrient. Macro means on a large scale. So, macronutrient implies your body needs a lot of it. One of the more interesting things I learned about protein is the body does not store it. You don’t have protein reserves like fat reserves. That’s why your body needs a steady stream of protein daily. Not getting enough? Your body will surly let you know.
Signs you’re not getting enough protein
Cravings for a high carb and sugar diet
Muscle and joint pain
Slow recovery from injuries
Hair, skin, and nail issues
Problems losing weight
Protein is in charge of a lot! But, since most every function of your cells, organs, and whole body is controlled by proteins it’s not surprising to experience some of the above problems when you don’t eat enough of it!
And since I know most of you are curious, it’s a big help when trying to drop pounds. It supports your muscle recovery after exercise, which in turn reduces water retention and helps build muscle mass. More muscle = more calories burned, even when you’re not working out. Protein also helps curb hunger and reduce cravings. Those who eat a steady stream of protein daily have been proven to have far less cravings then those who don’t. And I can vouch for that. When I eat enough protein it’s like I have super human strength to avoid cravings. But get a hungry Eryn who hasn’t had enough protein and I’ll fall for most any sugary treat. I try to keep protein rich foods ready at all times.
Where to get your protein?
Protein comes in all forms: Eggs, Greek yogurt, meats, (steak, chicken, turkey, pork, wild game, bison, fish) beans, nuts and nut butters, seeds, vegetables, (kale, spinach, chard, Brussels sprouts, peas, broccoli, mushrooms) quinoa, oats and supplements. See, you’ve got this! You can easily get enough in each day!
How to make eating enough protein easy
Meal prep. Now I know, there are a lot of people out there that hate with a passion meal prep. Their kitchen becomes a disaster zone and they exhaust a whole day cooking and cleaning. But hear me out, I’m not asking you to make a bunch of complicated recipes, all I want is for you to cook a few staple items you can add into dishes easily throughout the week.
A great way to do this is BBQ or bake a huge batch of seasoned chicken breasts or other lean meat once a week. You can then use it in a variety of ways. Add it to salads, shred it and make lettuce tacos, or just have it as is for a quick and easy dinner. I like to hard boil a dozen eggs, bake up a large batch of quinoa, and wash a bunch of lettuce and toss with lemon juice to help it last longer. Pull it all out and create whatever you want throughout the week. You have some core healthy ingredients at the ready, and it’s much easier to make something quick and not resort to a drive through or sugary treat.
I also have a nutrient dense holistic protein shake daily after my workouts. It’s super healthy, helps me stay off of anxiety medication, and keeps my energy levels up. Some days can be plain hard for me to get in proper nutrition. I’m busy and often times come last, so having this daily gives me the knowledge and assurance that I’m doing something amazing for my body, and whatever else happens, at least I had one super good meal. 😉 Sometimes that’s all we get, ya feel me moms? I use this shake, but whatever you do, make sure you’re getting a high quality one. So many have unnecessary fillers and sweeteners that are not natural and can cause more issues than they fix. Often times with protein powders, you get what you pay for, and usually cheap isn’t good and good isn’t cheap.
Do you think you eat enough protein each day? Have any tips or tricks up your sleeve you can share?