- Sophie Butcher
Stabilise & Repair: The importance of good sources of protein in exercise & weight loss
Protein is an essential building block for every cell in your body and it's importance in exercise and weight loss is paramount.
The key functions of protein in exercise and weight loss includes: providing the building blocks for your body; increasing muscle tissue; aiding tissue repair; stabilising blood sugar levels thus it does not induce an insulin surge; providing slow release energy that aids weight loss.
You need to eat good quality sources of protein everyday to provide your body with all the amino acids it needs to function properly. Good quality animal-based protein include fish, seafood, eggs, chicken, turkey and red meat. Plant-based protein includes nuts, nut butters, seeds, tahini, tofu, tempeh and legumes.
How much protein per day? Experts say that you need to consume 1 - 1.5kg protein per kg body weight, for example if you weigh 70kg you need between 70 - 105g protein per day. However, your body can only consume around 20g protein per meal. If you are confused you're not alone.
An easy way to get enough protein each day to support exercise and maintain healthy body weight is to make sure that you include it in each meal and snack. You don't need to overdo it. That way you know that your body will get a slow release of energy and your blood sugar levels will be stable.
Protein can help to manage your weight loss by following a few simple guidelines:
1. Always consume protein with your meals and snacks.
2. Use a natural protein powder in a smoothie as a meal replacement (with yoghurt, banana, berries, coconut water, chia seeds, LSA mix etc).
3. Use protein powders as a snack replacement with just 1 scoop added to coconut water or water (not other ingredients) and make sure you consume slightly less calories at the following meal otherwise you are adding unnecessary calories to your diet.
4. Choose natural and organic protein as often as you can.
Be aware that many protein powders can contain high amounts of artificial sweeteners and additives that can actually have a negative effect on weight loss. Check out this article from The Healthy Chef to find out more about ingredients to avoid in protein powders: https://www.thehealthychef.com/2016/01/9-ingredients-that-should-never-be-in-your-protein-powder/
- celery filled with almond butter
- 1/2 banana topped with tahini
- protein bliss ball
- small can tuna with handful rice crackers
- carrot, bean, celery and capsicum sticks with hummus dip
- boiled egg
- berries and natural greek yoghurt
- corn thins with avocado and cottage cheese
- protein smoothie
Here's a more fun ideas to get you going: