For those of you who have been undereating protein for a long time, you’ll find that increasing your protein intake to an adequate amount is very difficult because of increases in satiety as well as a misunderstanding of what foods are good sources of protein. And we aren’t going to focus on bioavailability here.
We can think about foods as providing protein on the basis of both volume and calories.
Fibrous veggies provide roughly half of their calories from protein, but they are incredibly voluminous foods. While they are protein-rich, you’d need to eat an impractical amount to obtain a good amount of protein.
Nuts and seeds provide a good amount of protein per serving and are relatively low-volume, but they provide so many calories that you’d need to consume far above your energy requirements to obtain a meaningful amount of protein.
Combined, these two issues are mainstays of most (not all) plant-based sources of protein. Either they provide a lot of calories or too much volume for a given amount of protein.
So, where should we get our protein?
The obvious answer is animal products like eggs, dairy, and lean meats because they are very dense sources of protein with little volume and non-protein calories.
But, what if you’re vegan? Well, vegan protein powders are excellent. They too are dense sources of protein.
So, how can you incorporate protein into your diet?
Smoothies with protein powder are a great way to easily get a lot of protein while filling yourself up with water and whatever else you want to throw in. You can also mix protein powder into things like oatmeal or other porridges. Basing meals around lean meats is another option: poultry breast, lean meats, and fat-free dairy products like Greek yogurt. In fact, you can swap out high-fat condiments in dishes, like mayonnaise or sour cream, for Greek yogurt to really cut calories and increase protein while maintaining flavor.
Basically, just use the recipes you like and find ways to slip in more protein. Again, protein powder goes great with any dish that is liquid or semi-liquid.
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