Twelve Simple Ways to Add More Protein to Your Diet This Week

Jan 25, 2022

Why Women Need More Protein

…and 12 simple ways to add protein to your diet this week. 

We’re going to start with a little mental exercise today…Repeat after me: Protein is not just for building muscle. 

I recently had a 30-something client ask me why she was struggling with her weight goals. 

Five minutes later she told me that she didn’t prioritize protein in her diet because her goal was not, “adding muscle.” 

Listen. To. Me. Women, especially as women age need. More. Protein. 

It is a familiar adage that protein helps us feel full longer, we know that is it important as a building block for muscle. But, as we get older, our bodies process protein less efficiently, which means we need more high quality protein. Not only that but keratin (a type of protein) helps improve the health of our skin, nails and hair.  And, if that is not enough, protein actually helps us burn more fat—its higher thermic effect means that you can grab that extra brownie at the next office party as long as you have the chicken 😊 It is a key component not just in hitting ideal body weight, but in overall health as well. 

How Much Protein Do Women Need? 

Convinced that you need more protein? I am so glad. 

For those who do well with exact measurements, I generally advise my clients to aim for .8 grams of protein per pound (or based on your “healthy” ideal weight). 

For those who work well with generalities, I encourage a protein-rich food at each meal, and in at least one snack. You will find that not only do you feel full longer, you will have more energy when you include complete proteins in your meals. 

But starting to add more protein that isn’t just a piece of meat can be daunting—especially for vegetarians and vegans. So, to get you started, here are a few ways to pack some extra protein into your day. 

12 Simple (and often vegetarian!) Protein Tips:

  1. Swap your soup broth with bone broth—this will add an extra NINE grams per serving. 
  2. Bake protein muffins (either vegetarian or carnivore style): Adding a cup of lentils or collagen will up the protein content by 3-5 grams. 
  3. Go Greek. And, go full fat. I know—anyone who lived during the 80s and 90s has heard the exact opposite, but the full fat version keeps you full longer, and Greek yogurt contains close to 20 grams of protein per serving. 
  4. Start your day with some oats—boasting an impressive 11 grams of protein per cup, your morning meal can easily tide you over with some nut butter, seeds, or an extra scoop of protein powder. 
  5. Swap your bread out for loaves with sprouted whole grains and legumes. These sprouted versions are easier to digest and come with 5 extra grams of protein per slice. 
  6. Add nutritional yeast. One tablespoon comes with 18 important amino acids, and 4.9 grams of protein. I love sprinkling this on homemade popcorn, soups, and salads. 
  7. Sprout your own grains. Soak quinoa overnight, and add it to soups, salads, and sides. This ancient grain is a complete protein (contains all the essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce), and there are 8 grams of protein per cup. 
  8. Add some beans. Specifically, edamame (or, soy). One cup has close to 19 grams of protein, and is a great addition to soups, salads, and afternoon snacks. 
  9. Eat your (steamed) broccoli. This cruciferous veggie has almost 3 grams of protein in a cup (one of the highest in a vegetable), and contains many vitamins, nutrients, and health benefits. 
  10. Add almonds or pumpkin seeds. Sliced, roasted, ground—these nuts and seeds both have the highest protein content and are also filled with fiber.
  11. Start your day with eggs…and keep those yolks. Eggs are an amazing source of protein (6 grams per egg!), key nutrients, and healthy fats. 
  12. And finally--start with your meat. This may sound simple, but protein increases the production of a gut hormone that makes you feel full and satisfied. Protein and fat will also help regulate your blood sugars, balancing out your insulin levels throughout the day and while you sleep. 

Let me know how your protein intake is going and share with us some of your favorite tips!

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