In this article I am going to give you my 5 best quick strategies to get more protein.
How to get more protein in your diet is one of the most common questions I get in my social media or when clients are starting to work with me. In fact around 90% of people who are starting to work with me are struggling to eat enough protein.
How to set your protein goal
Before I will give you a quick way to get more protein in your diet, the amounts that I am recommending are 1,6 to 2,2 g / kg body weight (0,7 to 1g protein per pound).
Your next question is if it should be 1,6 or 2,2g? Here is the simplest way to set your protein goal. Pick your goal body weight where you are leanest you want to be. (e.g. you are now 80kg and your goal is to be 70kg). If you don’t need to lose weight, use your current body weight to set your goal. Multiply your goal body weight with 2,2 and you have your daily protein goal. (70kg x 2,2 = 154g) If you are using pounds, multiply your goal body weight with 1. (E.g. goal 154 pounds x 1 = 154g)
Not getting enough protein?
This might sound like a lot of protein and for most people it means that you might need to double or triple your protein intake. Before giving up and thinking that I am not going to eat only protein, I want to tell you a couple things.
Especially in the beginning it might feel that all you are eating is protein. If you are not hitting your goals in the beginning, that’s totally fine. If your goal is 150g and you are getting 100g, that’s totally ok.
When I started as a coach years ago, I was telling my clients that you must hit this minimum amount of protein, no matter what. Now years later as I got a better coach I realized that nutrition is no different than exercising. I am not going to give a beginner the most advanced exercises. In the same way I am not going to expect that someone who is just starting to make changes in their nutrition, I am not going to expect that you are hitting your goals from day 1.
Even if you are not hitting your recommended amounts of protein in the beginning, it’s fine.
You are not failing.
It doesn’t mean that you are not able to make progress.
It is not that big of a deal.
I love to use the word aim for it. It is totally different than actually hitting your goal.
Like in everything in life, the more you do and practice it, the better you will become and easier it will get.
Actually several studies show that if you are a beginner and starting with strength training and making adjustments in your nutrition, doing everything perfectly really doesn’t matter that much. You are going to see a huge amount of progress when sending these new signals to your body. This phase will last 1 to 2 years and you really don’t need to pay so much attention to doing the most optimal workouts or being 100% perfect in your nutrition. The more advanced you are getting, all these details and optimizing your nutrition and workouts start to matter more.
Do your best but don´t worry about it too much.
5 Strategies to get more protein
Strategy 1: Get as much protein as you can early in the day.
This is probably the most important one and one of the biggest struggles my online clients are struggling with. It is the most beneficial strategy and often overlooked.
There are several studies proving this, especially in human behavior. How you are starting your day, is often how you end up having your day. If you are struggling with hunger or cravings throughout the day, this strategy will most likely help you.
Tip what I use myself and love to teach my online clients is to start your day with at least 25g of protein. This is especially important if you know that later on your day will get crazy, you don’t have a lot of time to eat, you have kids or you are traveling.
If you know that your day will most likely be a disaster, you can start it with 50g of protein. This will help you later on to hit your protein goals and feel fuller for longer.
For me I start my day with 250g of Greek Yogurt,with seasonal fruits and berries and mix them as a smoothie. That is my breakfast for literally 364 days in a year. I like to keep things simple and not think too much. You don’t need to eat the same thing every single day and here are some other foods on how to get 25g of protein. Values are estimates to give you an idea how much of each food you need to eat to start your day well.
Greek Yogurt or Skyr (10g protein/ 100g)
Cottage Cheese (13g protein / 100g)
1 Egg (7g protein)
Protein powder (80g protein/100g)
Chicken / Turkey (27g/100g)
Strategy 2 : Protein shakes
This is a commonly misunderstood subject and there are many myths around protein shakes. Shakes are not bad for you. They are the most researched and beneficial supplement. Shakes are not steroids. They will not bulk you up.
Protein shakes are not necessary but can make your life a lot easier.
They are simply a convenient way to get more protein.
Same way as you get protein from chicken, greek yogurt or fish. Shake is just one way to get more protein.
Ideally you get your protein from natural foods. But if at 10PM at night you are missing 25g of your protein goal and don´t want to eat chicken, protein shake is a great convenient way to hit your protein goal.
Strategy 3: Increase your portion sizes of what you are currently eating.
This is one of the easiest ways to add more protein with foods that you are already eating. If you are not already weighing your protein sources, I highly recommend doing it. Simply because chances are that you have no idea how much protein you are actually eating. We are very bad at estimating in general and educating yourself about portion sizes will help you the rest of your life. I challenge you to weigh your protein sources with food scale and use grams for only 3 days to see how much protein you are currently eating. After this short test you have already a much better idea how much you are eating and where you could be adding something more.
Let’s say you are eating 100g of chicken for your lunch, you will be getting around 27g of protein. If you could eat 150g, you would hit 40g of protein by just adding 115 calories. It is not that much more food. Imagine if you could do this for each meal. That would make a huge change in total amount of protein per day.
If you are not sure how many grams of protein foods you are eating, the simplest way is to use some tracking app or do google search. My clients are using my personalized tracking app which is honestly the best food tracking app to see how much protein you have been eating. For free options, myfitnesspal is a great option you will find.
If you don’t have any tracking apps in your phone, simply write in google how many grams of protein in chicken and it comes right up.
It will never be 100% accurate but it really doesn’t have to be. You will have an idea.
Strategy 4: Make a list of protein sources you don’t mind eating
Protein is not the sexiest food and not easy to include in all your meals. Make a list of protein sources you don’t mind eating. You don’t need to love them but foods that you are ok to eat.
Make sure that you always have those foods at home.
Place them visible in your fridge or pantry. When you open the door, the first thing you see is tuna or cottage cheese makes it more likely that you remember to snack on some source of protein first before going to your cookies. 😉
Strategy 5: Plan your protein sources ahead
This tip was a game changer for me! I often ended up the day and realized at 10PM that I was missing a lot of protein. Even I was consistently thinking more about protein sources but hitting those goals were really hard until I started to plan my protein sources ahead.
Now I am simply using my tracking app and adding only protein sources I am going to eat the next day. For example, for breakfast I have 250g greek yogurt, lunch 200g chicken and for dinner 160g of tuna. These foods gave me around 110g. My goal is to hit around 160-170g of protein so the next question was what could I be adding more.
For me some days it is 200g cottage cheese (24g p) and simply protein shake (25g p) when I don’t feel like eating more on my 3 main meals.
After you know the amounts and sources you are going to eat, you can start adding other things like veggies and carbs and fats. You don’t need to plan all your meals ahead but once you know amounts and protein sources ahead, it makes hitting your goals a hell lot easier.
What foods to eat
It is totally up to your personal preferences. These foods I listed are the ones I eat on a daily basis to give you an idea what foods you could be adding to your diet. As mentioned, feel free to eat foods you actually enjoy.
My favorite sources:
- Greek Yogurt or Skyr
- Cottage Cheese
- Chicken or Turkey
- Fish (I love tuna, salmon and shrimps)
- Tyrolean gray cheese (low fat cheese with 33g protein/139 kcal per 100g)
- Protein shake
- Protein pudding / protein bars
It is really challenging to get more protein in your diet and requires consistently thinking about your food choices. When you start thinking first from protein sources, you will most likely start to see huge improvements.
I hope you enjoyed this article as well as learned something from it.
Remember, dieting doesn’t have to suck and before starting to completely eliminate your favorite foods, try adding more protein and other low calorie, high volume foods. They will keep you fuller for longer. If you want to learn more How to stay full on a diet, this article might help you: https://personaltrainerturo.it/how-to-stay-full-on-diet/
Be sure you use these tips here to help tackle your diet a bit better.
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