I often get the question: “How can I add more protein to my day?”
Before I answer that question, we need to be aware of what our daily protein needs are. More sedentary people, the general guideline is 1g of protein per kg body weight. So if you weigh 70kg, you would need 70g of protein. Other guidelines are as follows:
- Weight loss: 1.2g/kg
- Weight/muscle gain: 1.5g/kg
- Athletes: 1.2-1.7g/kg (studies are now pointing towards higher needs)
Seems like a lot of protein? Think again! 99% of the North American population meets and even exceeds these numbers.
To give you an idea of how much protein this is, a 3 oz piece of cooked chicken breast provides about 25g of protein. 3 oz if the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards (this is for the older crowd, I don’t think the younger generation still plays with cards…). Add some carbs and veggies to a meal and you easily reach 35g of protein. Do this twice a day and we’re already at 70g! And we didn’t even take into account breakfast and snacks.
Now something that is important to note with protein, is that we need it multiple times a day. Our muscles are always in a cycle of degradation and regeneration, which means they break down to rebuild again throughout the course of the day. We don’t have stores for protein like we do for fat and sugars, which means we did to consume them with every meal.
On the other hand, there are some studies showing having too much per meal is pretty much useless too. A general guide is to get about 30g per meal to get the maximum potential of our protein.
Going back to our daily recommendations, we can see how easy it is to get our protein with lunch and supper. But what about breakfast and snacks? Unless you fill these with dairy and eggs, we have to get creative with our sources of protein.
For breakfast, I often recommend nuts and seeds. Why? While providing a fair amount of protein, they are also high in fiber, which should help you feel fuller, longer.
Seed nutrition per 1 tbsp:
- Flaxseed: 1.3g protein, 1.9g fiber
- Chia seed: 2.3 g protein, 4g fiber
- Hemp seed: 3 g protein, 1 g fiber
It may not seem like a lot, but every little bit helps. And not to mention their high content of vitamins and minerals that are often lacking with other sources of protein.
This past Friday, at the monthly bake sale at Le Fitness Loft, I was able to promote these seeds with 2 of my favorite recipes – Banana oatmeal cookies (with flax and hemp seeds) and Tropical kale smoothie (with hemp seeds). Recipes below!
Banana Oatmeal Cookies
Makes about 18 cookies
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed with fork until smooth
- 5 cups oats
- 1/3 cup peanut butter or any other nut butter
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup mixed seeds (flaxseed and hemp seeds)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients. Drop a generous tbsp of batter onto pre-greased pan and bake for 15 minutes.
Green protein smoothie
Makes 1 serving
- ½ cup frozen mango
- ½ cup frozen Pineapple
- ½ cup tropical juice
- ½ cup chopped kale
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
Blend end enjoy!