Getting enough protein in your diet can feel daunting. But with these easy 5 ways to increase your protein intake from The Whole Smiths, you’ll find yourself getting enough protein in each and every day in no time.
The Importance of Protein in Your Diet.
As I’ve gotten older, I shifted my health focus ever so slightly to be directed at longevity. Mental acuity and physical resilience have become a priority for me. I’m not going to lie and pretend that an aesthetic or vanity component isn’t still at play, but it isn’t my main consideration anymore.
It’s no secret that we lose muscle mass as we get older. To prevent that, we’re told to lift heavy weights and eat plenty of protein. Great. Lifting weights? No problem, I can do that. Eating loads of protein every day? So much harder.
The formula to determine just how much protein we should be eating is .8 grams per kilogram of our body weight. (Here’s a kilogram to pound conversion for those of us that don’t like math.) For me that comes out to 120 grams of protein… PER DAY!
It seems like an overwhelming amount of protein to cram into our meals but with a little thought, finesse, and habit stacking, it becomes quite do-able.
1. Protein Powders, Smoothies & Shakes, Oh My!
It goes without saying that protein powders make getting enough protein into our days much easier. Particularly in the mornings. They’re convenient, easy to take on-the-go, and there’s such a huge variety on the market that it’s easy for everyone to find one they love.
Personally my favorite protein choices for smoothies and shakes are Orgain Organic Vegan Protein Powder in Vanilla, Naked Nutrition’s Organic Peanut Butter Powder and Four Sigmatic Organic Nourish + DeStress Protein.
My absolute favorite protein shake at the moment is my Peanut Butter Adaptogen Protein Shake. I’ve started adding an extra scoop (just one) of the Orgain Vanilla Protein to it for even more of a protein punch. It’s absolutely delicious and I find myself craving it.
But the truth is, you can’t eat protein shakes for every meal. Beyond that, these protein powders are all plant based and I believe having animal based protein in addition to plant based proteins make for a healthy balance.
2. High Quantity + Quality Animal Sources.
And here we have it, high quality animal sources. I’m not talking pepperoni on your pizza, I’m talking about actual, minimally processed animal protein sources. Things like chicken breasts, steaks, salmon, tuna etc. If I’m being brutally honest, I don’t love having gobs of meat at every meal. I don’t have a strong reason behind that other than it’s just not something I usually feel hungry for.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t eat it though. It packs a punch. You can see the protein totals for popular protein sources below and see that it can easily rack those protein grams up.
For me, I try to have one meal that is predominately meat based and then sprinkle meat into my other meals. Usually dinner is where we have our largest source of protein as I usually ensure it’s the main component. Then I plan to add some into other parts of my day. For example shredded chicken on my salad at lunch. Cooking up a whole roasted chicken at the beginning the week is a great way to ensure you you have some on hand. I regularly cook up my Whole Smiths Whole Chicken. If anything, you should make it for the extra crispy skin alone.
I also find that items like a rotisserie chicken, Trader Joe’s pre-cooked Just Chicken or canned tuna products are great to have on hand for fast and easy protein sources.
3. Hard Boiled Eggs.
This one is an easy, no-brainer. Emphasis on the easy. I even created a post awhile back ago on How to Make the Perfect Hardboiled Egg. The shell slides right off, there’s no unattractive grey ring and I even include a guide on how long to cook for a hard boiled egg for your liking. A runny yolk? A solid yolk? It’s all covered.
As far as how I eat my hardboiled eggs, I always need some salt. Perhaps some people can just pop them as-is but I’m not that person. I need some schmutz. I tend to cover mine with things like Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, Pepper Plant Original Sauce, a drizzle of my Whole30 Bacon Ranch Dressing or some pickle relish.
4. Habit Stacking with Collagen in Your Coffee.
Adding collagen to my coffee isn’t something I do regularly if I’m being honest. I don’t drink caffeinated coffee and therefore don’t drink coffee regularly enough to make a difference. However, you might.
I’ve come to find that most of my healthy habits are just that, habits. It doesn’t come from sheer willpower but instead, habit stacking. Adding healthy habits onto habits that I also ready have in place.
Making healthy habits convenient and easy are the way to long term success. Therefore, if you drink coffee regularly, it is easy to add collagen into your existing habit of drinking coffee other than trying to start a whole new process.
5. Protein Filled Snacks.
This is where I find the secret to getting enough protein into your diet. Yes, this the protein packed chicken breasts will pack a punch but these smaller snacks through the day will help you reach your goal.
It’s just a matter of changing the things you are already be snacking on.
An obvious protein snack would be a meat stick. Meat sticks have come a long way from the Slim Jim days. Now we have grass-fed beef options that aren’t loaded with artificial ingredients and preservatives and you can find them at any grocery retailer, not just gas stations! Some of our favorite brands these days are Chomps and Duke’s.
I’ve also fallen in love with cottage cheese again. I used to eat cottage cheese regularly then dropped it when I started following more of a Paleo diet. But I’m back eating dairy (not nearly as much as back in the day but it is a regular part of my diet today) and remembered how much I love it.
Not all cottage cheese is created equally however, I prefer the small curd. The large curd is quite watery sand strange so check your labels. I love eating my mixed with some salsa or hot sauce.
I also eat a lot of tuna around here to get more protein in. As I mentioned above, I regularly have canned tuna on hand to eat. I love make a quick tuna salad with my 30-Second Mayo. You can find my go-to tuna salad recipe here. I ether eat it with some crackers or wrapped in some lettuce.
Getting Enough Protein Into Your Diet is Doable.
As you can see, there’s a ton of ways we can add more protein into our diets. It can feel a little daunting at first when you see that daily gram goal, but with a few small tweaks to your existing diet, it becomes much more attainable. Using these 5 Ways to increase your protein intake will get you there in no time.
With that said, you’re not going to hit your goal every day and that’s ok. Strive to get as close as you can. As you build up more and more protein habits and make more swaps through your day you’ll find it easier and easier to attain.