How To Boost Your Protein Intake | SLMan
Regardless of whether you’re looking to build muscle or not, protein is an important part of your diet. From why it’s crucial to underrated sources and simple hacks to boost your intake, here’s what you need to know…

UNDERSTAND THE NUMBERS 

“The NHS guidelines for protein intake are around 50-55g of protein per day”, says Myles Hopper, nutritional coach and co-founder of Mindful Chef. “This amount, however, is to prevent protein deficiency and should be classed as the minimum amount you need to function on a daily basis. To perform and feel optimal, individuals should look to eat higher amounts. If you’re training regularly, you may want to increase to 1-1.4g of protein per kg of bodyweight. Athletes may even look to increase as high as 2g per kg of bodyweight.”

Not sure how much you should be consuming? PT George Palmer recommends seeking advice from the professionals: “A personal trainer will often ask you to record a food diary so they can share advice, all based upon approved government guidelines. If you need dietary advice outside of these guidelines, trainers like me will likely refer you to a registered dietician or doctor.”

 

KNOW THE SOURCES
Protein doesn’t only come from meat but also fish, dairy, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. As Myles says, “Protein can be found in abundance everywhere. If you are plant based, try not to build your diet just around grains and cereals – there are some obvious good plant-based alternatives like tempeh and tofu which are high in protein.”

“If my own clients eat meat but still need to increase their protein intake, I suggest trying leaner sources such as chicken or turkey breast, lean mince, tuna and salmon”, says George. “I tend to remind my clients that some cooking methods will be healthier than others too, such as steaming, boiling, poaching or grilling compared to frying food.”

 

USE SMART ADDITIONS
There’s no need to ditch your favourite foods when you have plenty of simple additions at your fingertips. Knowing where to get your protein means you shouldn’t have to restrict your food choices, and can enjoy a varied and delicious diet. George, for example, is a fan of overnight oats. “I can dump protein-rich ingredients such as a small amount of peanut butter and whey protein, along with fruit and berries, into a pot the night before, and take it with me in the morning when I’m on the go.” 

 

BE SUPPLEMENT SAVVY
If you’re boosting your intake with the aim of growing muscle, incorporating a supplement can be helpful for reaching your target protein intake. However, not all protein powders are created equal. “A lot of this will come down to personal preference,” says Myles. “I prefer to use well-known brands who have affiliations with sporting bodies. That way I know they will have as few added ingredients as possible and no nasties, so they’re safe for the top athletes – Optimum Nutrition is a good example. If you’re looking for a really great plant-based alternative, Form Nutrition is the best on the market.”
 

Breakfast is the one of the easiest meals to pack with protein. Plus, starting your day with a decent amount will keep you fuller for longer, stabilise your blood sugar and avoid the post-lunch slump. Try these simple swaps to boost your gains...

SWAP: Almond milk
FOR: Cow’s milk
“For individuals who can tolerate and enjoy cow’s milk, making your porridge, smoothies or coffees with it will provide an extra 3.2g of protein per 100g. Almond milk contains around 0.5g protein per 100g by comparison.” – Jenna Hope, nutritionist
 
SWAP: Regular white flour
FOR: Almond flour
“If you are a fan of pancakes, try using almond flour in your batter instead of the normal white variety. This will increase your protein intake by 19g per 100g.” – Jenna
 
SWAP: Breakfast cereal
FOR: Porridge
“Oats are naturally packed with nutrition and are much higher in protein than your average breakfast cereal. Top with a handful of nuts or seeds for an additional boost. Also onsider making porridge from other grains like quinoa and amaranth, which are naturally high in protein.” – Georgine Leung, nutritionist at Kurami
 
SWAP: Blueberry muffin
FOR: Egg muffin
“Egg muffins, like mini frittatas, can contain sources of healthy fats and protein, helping us feel satisfied for longer. If you’re looking for an added boost of flavour and protein, incorporate some diced chicken into the mix.” – Rhiannon Lambert, Harley Street registered nutritionist
 
SWAP: Fruit smoothie
FOR: Protein smoothie
“My morning smoothie usually contains two to three vegetables, one or two fruits and a scoop of protein powder. It’s such an easy way to pack in a tonne of nutrition and the protein makes it a complete meal. Plus, it can add up to 20g of protein per serving.”
 
SWAP: Normal yoghurt
FOR: Greek yoghurt
“Greek yoghurt can contain up to 14g of protein per 100g. You could mix this with fruit, nuts or muesli; or add yoghurt to a smoothie for a creamier drink that will keep you fuller for longer.” – Lucy Gornall, PT at Digme & certified nutrition expert

SWAP: Avocado toast
FOR: Poached eggs and avocado on toast
“Avocados only contain 2g of protein per 100g, which isn’t going to help you reach your daily requirement. Add a poached egg or two, some smoked salmon or, if you’re vegan, try it with scrambled tofu or topped with some edamame. These contain 8g of protein per 100g.” – Rhiannon

 

 

*Features published by SLMan are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programmes.

 

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