Eating a high-protein diet makes losing fat and building muscle easier.
Doing so has helped me halve and maintain my body fat.
It takes planning, but simple trade-offs help me reach my daily goal.
Protein is important for overall health, but the nutrient is especially useful for people who want to lose fat or build muscle.
Nutrition expert Graeme Tomlinson told Insider that protein uses more energy during digestion than carbohydrates or fats, making it easier to stick to a calorie deficit. This is known as the thermic effect of food.
Protein keeps you full for longer, too, Tomlinson said, reducing the likelihood of overeating over time.
The recommended daily intake for adults in the United States is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, but active people need more to help with muscle growth and repair.
Tomlinson recommends eating at least 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to lose body fat, but he said the sweet spot is likely to be between 1.4-2 grams, depending on the individual. Aim to spread your intake evenly throughout the day.
Eating a high protein diet has helped me cut my body fat in half, and I aim to eat 120-130 grams per day. This is now my usual way of eating, but it requires foresight. To achieve this goal, I plan ahead and make simple food swaps.
1. Plan your food in advance
When I stick to my protein goal, I use the MyFitnessPal app to track my intake and plan my eating.
Every evening, I take five minutes to log the meals I’m going to eat the next day, and then rate where I stand in terms of protein.
If I hit my goal of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I eat what I want from my snacks and don’t worry about protein. If I don’t, I know I need to make protein-rich choices.
2. Plan meals around protein
When I decide what to cook, I include a protein source and make sure the meal is balanced. So instead of just putting a big bowl of pasta and veggies in the sauce, I might as well have a smaller portion with chicken on the side.
Protein-based meals are still possible if you’re a vegetarian – try tofu, seitan, dairy, eggs or legumes.
3. Make high-protein versions of your favorite foods
If you’re craving cake, pizza, or cake, look for a protein-rich recipe, which can help satisfy cravings while keeping you on the right track.
I love making protein-enhanced banana bread, pancakes, pancakes, cookie dough, raspberry mousse, and cookies.
4. Enter protein powders
Whole food protein sources are preferred, but protein powder can be beneficial. I often add it to breakfasts in oats, pancakes, and smoothies.
While protein powder is a convenient and cheap source of protein, for some it can irritate the intestines.
I occasionally eat protein bars, but I check the ingredients and try to choose bars that are also not high in sugar.
5. Make Low Calorie High Protein Swaps
If your goal is to lose weight, bundle meals with high-protein, low-calorie swaps like:
Adding egg whites to scrambled eggs or omelettes
Fat-free yogurt instead of sour cream
Turkey or chicken sausage, or meatballs instead of pork or beef
Dried peanut butter instead of regular peanut butter
Cottage cheese instead of ricotta
6. Snack on cooked meat
If you eat meat, chicken, or chicken it can make a tasty and light meal – to save money, make it in bulk and keep it in the fridge.
7. Add beans and pulses to dishes
Adding beans, chickpeas and lentils to dishes like bolognese and curries are a great way to add more protein and fiber, just be sure to factor them into your total calories if you’re aiming to be in a deficit.
Read the original article on Insider