Got milk? That might be a good start, but if you're looking to get into a high protein diet, you'll need a lot more than a cup of milky goodness. And studies are showing that this type of lifestyle might well be worth your while. If you're trying to lose weight, increase muscle mass, or boost your overall body health, here's why a high-protein diet will help and what you can do about it (spoiler alert: High protein meal delivery services will help you out).
You've probably heard a few things about eating a lot of protein. Some of them are good, and some of them are not. Here are a few concrete facts about high protein meal plans that might change the way you look at that rack of lamb forever:
- Reduces hunger, cravings, and late-night snacking
Most people assume that eating carbs is the only way to feel satiated, but your biology tells a different story. As a matter of fact, protein does two things to help make you feel fuller and more satisfied after a meal:
1. Proteins increase your peptide YY levels. This is the hormone that makes you feel full after eating. Nice!
2. Protein also reduces your ghrelin production. That’s the pernicious hormone that makes you feel hungry.
So, proteins increase satiation hormones and decrease hunger hormones, making you feel fuller with less and for longer. Oh, and one more thing. High protein diets have been linked to a reduction in cravings and late-night munchies. In fact, participants were recorded to have as much as 60% fewer cravings by increasing their protein intake.
You might have heard that proteins are the building blocks of your body. Not only is this scientifically factual, but studies have shown that eating a hearty diet of proteins can boost both your muscle mass and overall strength. That’s why people trying to “bulk up” will pound protein.
Proteins simply take a lot more energy to break down due to a higher thermic effect (TEF). So, eating more protein means you automatically burn more calories to break down the food within your body.
As you age, your bones often become weaker and more brittle. That's bad news and often contributes to fractures and broken bone incidents in the elderly. Good news, though. Studies have also shown that a high protein diet helps people maintain their bone mass and reduce the risk of osteoporosis along with bone fractures as they age.
Additionally, a nasty little thing known as sarcopenia, a major cause of bone fractures, is something most elderly people suffer from. Eating more protein will also help prevent sarcopenia (and staying active helps too).
Since proteins are the building blocks of your body, it only makes sense that having more of the stuff around will help when your body is trying to repair itself. For this reason, it is recommended to eat more protein after an injury to aid in quicker recovery.
High protein diets will also help you lower your blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
There are a lot of good reasons to boost your protein intake. But what exactly does that look like? Here’s a more practical guide to help you gauge your protein diet. High protein meal plans include, no surprise, plenty of protein. Some common sources include:
- Salmon, tuna, halibut
- Chicken, especially the breast
- Milk and milk products
As most people would have guessed, animal meats are a good source of protein. But what might surprise you is that you can get copious amounts of protein from many other types of foods, as well. For example, quinoa, also a great source of amino acids, will deliver a powerful amount of protein in a single serving.
Lima beans can deliver a whopping 21 grams of protein per 100 grams. That’s more per gram than a drumstick! Other beans like black beans are easy to mix into a meal and will boost your protein intake considerably.
Broccoli and cauliflower are some more great choices for alternative protein sources. These veggies can be prepared in a number of ways, including steamed, roasted, and creamed into a soup. Greek yogurt is a good choice for dairy protein. But if you’re trying to lose weight or are lactose intolerant, you might want to avoid this option.
Potatoes and corn are also a good source of protein that most people don't think about. Oats are another surprising source of protein. Since it's a carb, most people wouldn't readily turn to this grain for a protein push. But clocking in at 17 grams per 100 grams, a nice bowl of oatmeal could give you more protein than a small piece of fish. FYI, so do tempeh, spelt, and teff.
As you can see, you have a lot of options. Want some more? Try out some of these for a quick and delicious protein boost:
- Almonds, pistachios, and other nuts
- Seeds, especially pumpkin and flaxseeds
- Bok choy
You’ll also want to eat lots of vegetables like spinach, asparagus, and the ones we listed already. And as you increase your protein intake, you’re going to want to reduce the amount of carbs you eat as well. Since this is not a strict diet plan, there is a sliding scale as far as how much protein to carb ratio you should maintain.
Exactly how much will depend on your goals (weight loss, maintenance, overall health, etc.). Studies are showing that as much as 0.6 grams of protein per pound or 90 grams for a 150-pound person is beneficial for preventing muscle loss that commonly occurs as you age.
Looking to lose weight? You might want to up that amount to a whopping 0.75 grams per pound. This should roughly translate to 20-30% of your daily caloric intake, and it's a good idea to spread out the protein consumption throughout the day, so your body can use it most efficiently.
Ready to take on the world? Or at least a high protein diet...But there's still one thing stopping you - the meal prep. It's what derails so many well-intentioned people from sticking to a plan. Luckily, there's an easy solution. You can choose a high protein meal prep service that'll do all the dirty work for you.
High protein meal kits come with everything prepped and ready to cook, so you save a lot of time and worry on meal planning, shopping, and measuring. Use the service for a few meals a week or for several until you get used to cooking on your own. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll see how easy this type of diet is to maintain. Check out some of the best high protein meal prep services for 2020 to relieve yourself of this major task while you transition into a healthier lifestyle.
Whether you decide to try out a few meals from a reputable high protein food delivery service or prefer to cook things yourself, a high protein diet can rejuvenate your body, help you lose weight, and let you live a healthier, happier, longer life. What’s your favorite high protein meal booster?