Adding more protein to your diet can improve your health on so many levels! Not only will it speed up your metabolism, but it will provide you with muscle-building fuel and keep you energized through your workouts. If your goal is to get fit—not just lose weight, but improve your fitness level—protein is the single most important component of your diet. Here are some tips on how to get more protein in your diet today:
Eat More Animal Protein
The best way to get more protein in your diet is to increase your intake of lean animal proteins. Red meat like pork and beef, poultry like turkey and chicken, and both fish and seafood will give you a hefty dose of amino acids. The good thing about animal proteins is that they are complete—this means they contain all nine essential amino acids required to build muscle. You don’t need to add any other foods to your diet to encourage faster muscle growth and a better-working metabolism. Animal protein is rich in minerals and critical vitamins that will help to make your body run better overall!
Eat More Veggie Protein
Veggie proteins tend to be “incomplete”—as in they don’t have all nine essential amino acids—but they’re still a great way to get more protein in your diet. After all, you can pair them with other incomplete proteins—think brown rice mixed with beans or peas—and you’ll complement the proteins to make them “complete”. Veggie proteins are very low in fat and rich in fiber, and they are absolutely critical for a healthy body. Legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are your best sources of veggie protein, and they definitely deserve a place in your diet!
Try Protein Powder
Protein powder is another great option to get more protein in your diet. Not only is it loaded with protein—anywhere from 15 to 30 grams per serving—but you’ll find that it’s usually protein that is easy for your body to break down, absorb, and utilize. However, not all protein powders are created equal. Whey is a fast-acting protein while casein protein is slower to be used in your body, but both are milk proteins and thus may not be a viable option for those with lactose intolerance. Plant-based proteins contain more ingredients, which is necessary to provide the complete protein, but they typically don’t taste as good as the milk-based proteins. Both soy and egg proteins are available, both of which are decent options to consider. Basically, it’s about finding the best protein powder according to your lifestyle, diet, and food tolerances.
Variety is Key
These three sources—veggie proteins, animal proteins, and protein powders—are your best choice if you want to get more protein in your diet. It’s important that you try getting as much protein as possible from as widely varied a source as possible. No one protein is superior to the other, but each contains their benefits and drawbacks that you need to take into account when adding them to your diet. However, each protein source does contain specific nutrients that your body needs in order to function. For example, fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, while pea protein is paired with a lot of dietary fiber, and red meat is your best source of metabolism-boosting Vitamin B12. There is no one “best” protein, but it’s important that you try all the various proteins and use them to enrich your diet, not only for more amino acids, but for all vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.