If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ve heard me go on my protein rants. When we don’t eat enough protein, things turn pear-shaped: Trump gets put in the driver’s seat of a global superpower, Han Solo dies, and hipsters continue riding around on those ridiculous clown-sized unicycles. You get the point. Protein is really important. But many people struggle to eat enough. So, here are 10 easy ways to eat more protein. No cooking required!
1. Buy Clean Precooked Meats
Costco and some supermarkets sell cooked burgers and meats that don’t have an ingredients list as long as your arm. These won’t be as healthy as home cooked versions but they’re convenient.
Check out these grass-fed beef patties at Costco. They have a simple ingredients list: all-natural grass-fed beef, organic onions, sea salt, organic garlic, organic pepper. You can also find chicken and turkey without many additives.
2. Freeze Rotisserie Chicken
You probably already use rotisserie chicken for dinners. But you can also portion the meat out and freeze it for a quick and easy protein source.
I’ll often by a couple for lunches during the week. I shred the meat and keep three portions in the fridge. The rest gets stored in the freezer. To stop it drying out, wrap it in cling wrap and store in Ziploc bags. When ready to eat, I add low-calorie flavourings like hot sauce, mustard, pasta sauce, salsa, etc.
3. Pack Jerky
This stuff has come a long way thanks to the whole Paleo thing. You can now eat like a caveman. Well, sort of. You won’t be hunting any woolly mammoths. But you can walk around with chunks of meat in your hide, or whatever the hell cavemen wore.
4. Real Food Protein Bars
How many ingredients do you know on the back of your protein bar? How long is the list? And does it have quality whey protein or is it packed full of soy and other proteins? Protein bars should have mostly . . . drumroll . . . protein.
It can be hard to find clean sources that aren’t packed full of sugars and other additives but brands like Rise are starting to pop up.
5. Shake It Up
Whey protein is like a milkshake party in your mouth, less the ice-cream and bucket loads of sugar. It’s the easiest way (pun intended) to increase protein. One scoop usually packs around 25-35 g of protein.
If you’re vegan, there are plenty of options on the market now. They no longer taste like cement slurry. And can rival whey protein if they contain all nine essential amino acids. Look for brands advertised as a ‘complete’ protein source.
6. Stock up on Eggs
Are mornings crazy for you? Rushing trying to get out the door on time? Try eggs for a quick and healthy breakfast.
You can usually find precooked eggs at most supermarkets. But I suggest bulk cooking a batch, seeing all you have to do is boil water.
Add simple flavourings like sea salt, tarragon, olive oil, paprika, or chilli. If you’re running late again, just grab a couple of shelled eggs and eat them at work.
7. Swap Milk for Greek Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt has more protein than normal yoghurt and milk. Add it to cereal or smoothies to up your protein intake. It also goes well with frozen fruits for a healthy dessert.
8. Snack on Cottage Cheese
Another good dairy option is cottage cheese. It’s a high-quality protein source that’s good on its own as a quick snack. Dress it up with nuts, seeds, cinnamon or other toppings for an easy breakfast.
9. Add Canned Fish to Salads
Canned tuna or salmon is great to have on hand. Add it to salads or have it on its own for a protein-rich snack. Look for BPA-free cans.
Obviously, canned isn’t as good as fresh fish, but we’re busy people. The world’s cleanest, superfood-infused diet is useless if you can’t stick to it.
10. Veggie Protein Snack - Edamame
Vegans have fewer options when it comes to protein. But that doesn’t mean they’re out of luck. Edamame can be bought in snack-sized packs at Costco. Heat them up in the microwave. Add sea salt and you’ve got a tasty snack ready to go.
Try the Protein Hack
If you’re trying to lose weight or just want to up your protein intake, try making this one change: eat at least 30 g of protein with breakfast. That’s it. Studies show that eating a high-protein breakfast reduces hunger throughout the day.
Once you’ve nailed the above hack, aim to have 20-30 g of protein at each of your main meals. How much should you aim for on a daily basis? Check out the next section.
How Much Protein Do I Need?
If you’re trying to build muscle, aim to eat around 0.7-1 gram per pound of bodyweight (1.5-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight).
You can also calculate protein as a percentage of your caloric intake. Aim for somewhere between 25-35% of total calories. For example, if you eat 2,000 calories a day and are aiming for 30% protein, the calculation is: 2,000 x 0.30 / 4 = 150 grams per day. These numbers will vary. Experiment with different intakes to find what works best for you.
Protein requirements vary depending on your goal. If you want a detailed post with comprehensive guidelines, this post by Fitness Jockey will tell you what you need to know.
If the numbers are too much for you, just eat lean protein at every meal (or at least your main meals). How much? Men try to get 6-8 palm-sized servings of protein each day. Women try to get 4-6 palm-sized servings of protein each day.
Don’t just consume information. If you’ve read this far, I’m assuming you find this post useful. You’ve now got two choices: 1) close the screen and think ‘that’s nice’ and move on with your day. Or 2) pick one of the above approaches to up your protein intake. Start out with an easy change. And as Nike says, just do it! Decision creates action. Action creates results.
I Need Your Help
I’ve also got a huge favour to ask of you. No, I don’t want your money. But will happily accept it! I’m trying to get this blog off the ground and I can’t do it without your help. Simply sharing this post on social media (you’re so close to the share buttons—look down below) or emailing it to a friend makes a HUGE difference in my life. In return, I promise we can be best mates and you can reach out anytime. Seriously. If you need help with any health, fitness, or Jedi Knight goals you can contact me here.
You can also share some love by adding a comment below. Let me know what your favourite quick and easy protein sources are.
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