Protein: My Second Big Rock
In my daily ‘Practical Nutrition’ practices, protein is my second ‘Big Rock,’ right after veggies.
My personal reasons for prioritizing protein second only to veggies are:
1) I am very active. To support my activity and further muscle growth and strength development, I need to regularly ingest protein.
2) Protein is also very filling–and I like feeling satiated after I eat–really, how unpleasant and disheartening is it to eat your meal and still not be satisfied?? Many protein sources are both tasty and filling AND slower to digest, hence feeling fuller longer between meals and satisfied with what I ate. I generally count servings of protein, and try to space them throughout the day, including one source at each meal and sometimes with a snack.
A serving of protein generally equals a source the size of one palm for women and two palms for men. Many people often wonder how many grams of protein they should be eating, and it depends a little bit on your activity level.
“The basic recommendation for protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram (or around 0.36 g per pound) of body mass in untrained, generally healthy adults. For instance, a 150 lb (68 kg) person would consume around 54 grams a day.
However, this amount is only to prevent protein deficiency. It’s not necessarily optimal, particularly for people such as athletes who train regularly and hard.
For people doing high intensity training, protein needs might go up to about 1.4-2.0 g/kg (or around 0.64-0.9 g/lb) of body mass.2 Our hypothetical 150 lb (68 kg) person would thus need about 95-135 g of protein per day.” (http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-protein)
Some pretty normal ways I get adequate protein are:
Eggs–scrambled, hard-boiled, whatever. I eat eggs almost daily.
Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese–often with fruit or berries, or as an ingredient in another recipe
Lean meats and Fish/Shellfish–I incorporate it into lunch and dinner, varying the sources depending on what’s available, reasonable, and works for my meal planning.
Fish/Shellfish–fresh, frozen, or even canned! Again, a lunch or dinner staple.
Whey Protein/Protein Supplements–I do use whey protein shakes as a snack, sometimes as a post-workout refuel, because it’s usually mid-morning/snack time about then. I also carry Quest bars with me at all times so if I become ravenous while running errands, being the Taxi, etc. in the afternoons they satisfy both my hunger and cookie cravings (I’m a sucker for the Cookies&Cream and Cookie Dough bars).
I try to keep it all as uncomplicated as possible, because it’s only one aspect of my life. There’s only so much mental, emotional, and physical life energy we have each day. I have lots of different people, tasks, and challenges to attend to with my life energy–and I’m sure you do, too! Spending lots of my time and energy counting macros and calories isn’t where I want to spend my ‘life capital,’ and since I don’t have a figure contest or any other specific body composition goal to train for, I keep it simple. Counting servings of protein, making sure I have easy sources of protein ready to go for meals, and packing a protein-rich snack are my practical ways of getting the second Big Rock into my daily and weekly nutritional practices.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing examples of meals and snacks I eat on the regular that help me get full and enjoy what I eat! Because feeling satiated and enjoying the flavors and textures of what I eat better ensures I’m both getting the nutrition I need and that I’ll continue my healthy patterns for the long-term. And that’s what I’m always after, whether it’s in mindset practices, nutrition or exercise: reasonable and helpful practices that are sustainable for the long haul.