You guys! So sorry this post is late. The whole car getting stolen thing really threw a wrench in my entire week so I am playing catch up with the challenge. I apologize! And I’m giving you a freebie point for today since you didn’t have the weekend to prepare… so please don’t be mad at me.
So, here we are at week 5 and it’s our second to last week (!) of our New Year’s Nutrition Boot Camp. I’m sad it’s almost over but am happy when a participant tells me this challenge has got them focusing on healthy habits.
Okay, so we have our water, fiber, fruits and vegetables under our belt. We’re moving on to something *very* important this week… protein. There are a few things that create the foundation for satiety and fullness in our diets. We already focused on one of those, which is fiber. Now let’s talk about protein.
Why is Protein Important in Our Diets?
Think of protein as the building blocks for your tissues and muscles. Your hair and nails are made of mostly protein. Protein is an important part of building cartilage, bones and skin. In other words, your body needs protein!
How Much Protein Do You Need?
Protein is very specific to each person. Weight and physical activity play a big part of it. For the purposes of this challenge, you can use the following general recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
Ladies = 46g protein per day
Gentleman = 56g protein per day
If you are an athlete and would like to take it a bit further, then here’s some additional info. If your BMI falls into the range of 18.5-25, then you can calculate your protein needs by using these recommendations (divide your weight in lbs by 2.2 to get your weight in kg)
- Endurance Athletes (ex: running/biking): 1.2 to 1.4 g per kg of body weight
- Power Athletes (crossfitters!): 1.2 to 1.7 g per kg of body weight
Evenly Distribute Protein Intake
More and more studies have indicated how beneficial it is to spread protein intake out throughout the day. We usually get minimal protein at breakfast, some at lunch and most at dinner. This is problematic because your body isn’t using all of the protein that you’re eating at dinner… it’s using what it can and then basically wasting the rest. The theory is that your body can only use so much protein at one time.
For my weight loss people… there are plenty of studies that show people who eat a high-protein breakfast feel more satisfied throughout the day, snack less in the evening and lose more weight than those who eat minimal protein at breakfast.
Week 4 Challenge
I want you to keep an eye on your protein intake for the whole day. But as far as your points go, your challenge this week is to consume 1/3 of your daily protein requirements in the morning. This means ladies will need to eat at least 16g of protein in the AM and guys will need to get at least 19g in the morning.
The focus this week should be on natural protein choices. In other words, please do not grab a protein bar. Look for whole foods that are naturally high in protein.
Since this post is so late, you can count a free point for Monday morning. But still count up your AM protein just to see how much you’re getting.
Which Foods are High in Protein
This list from Today’s Dietitian is an excellent resource! Chicken, fish, beef, legumes, nuts and dairy are all going to have some protein for you.
Tips for Adding Protein at Breakfast
- Dairy is a high source of protein: milk, cottage cheese and greek yogurt are excellent, lean choices
- Nuts and nut butters will give you a protein boost, so add them to your fruit or toast
- Smoothies are an easy way to sneak in protein! A little bit of milk, yogurt, spinach and *bam* you’re there. This recipe for a banana pear smoothie packs 18g of protein into 1 serving.
- Whole grains will contain a little bit of protein as well
- Don’t be afraid to add meat to your breakfast. I know it doesn’t sound ‘traditional’ but something like a chicken breakfast burrito can give you lots of added protein
Please check in with me!
How is the challenge going so far?
Are you still working on previous weeks goals? (water, fiber, etc.)
Just curious if anyone has lost any weight!