I am asked EVERY DAY how much protein should I eat – I always ask back, why and what are you trying to do? Protein is an essential building block for lean muscle mass and digests slower so we feel fuller longer and can curb those hunger pains when coupled with a healthy fat. The amount of protein you need daily depends on what you are trying to do for your body.
General guidelines are .5 to .7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you need between 75 and 105 grams of protein per day. This is a GENERAL guideline and does not take into account your body type, activity level or what you actually WANT to happen to your body.
This piece isn’t to talk about how much protein you should consume as that will vary greatly and you can find some really simple answers by asking Siri or doing a Google search. The main question I am asked here in NYC is what are good protein sources, specifically for those on the go all the time!! Nuts and seeds are a common response; however, my favorite suggestion is to grab a shaker bottle and a protein powder or grab a protein bar.
I am almost 44 years old and weigh 130 pounds – yep, there it is, the two things you are never supposed to share as a woman! My goal is to gain 10 more pounds and I would like it to be muscle!! The key to this is to increase my protein intake. Protein bars and protein powders are a favorite to supplement real food at meal time.
Let’s start with protein bars – they make an ideal snack on the go because they are easily thrown into a bag and consumed just about anywhere, unfortunately, this also opens the door for added sugars and preservatives. When looking for a good bar, keep it simple – look for bars with a limited number of ingredients and ones you can pronounce! Watch out for the hidden sugars too – look for bars sweetened by dates, honey or coconut sugar. The better products on the market today get their protein from egg whites, brown rice protein and nuts and will have a relatively limited shelf life.
Protein powders are a totally different animal – there are so many choices…meal replacement, pre-workout, post workout, and just a plain ole protein supplement. Again, the first thing is to read the label – understand what is IN the protein powder. I don’t do sugars, corn or soy, ever. I do look for organic and non-GMO as much as possible and Stevia as a sweetener. After that, they all vary – some have greens or fruits added and some are purely plain protein.
Personally, I rotate my protein powders, my favorites come from egg whites or are vegan. I rarely do whey or casein which are both dairy and can cause inflammation in the body.
A very plain, basic powder is egg white protein – it is PURE egg whites – the ingredient says egg white powder – that’s it.
Bone broth – this is a relatively new protein to hit mainstream and I am still not totally sold on it but I am giving it a try – the only ingredient is chicken bone broth protein concentrate.
The list of vegan proteins is long and I use a few different ones that have their main source of protein from brown rice, pea, quinoa or hemp or a combination of them. Several also have a variety of fruit and/or greens blend but as long as there is no sugar or filler like corn, I’ll give it a try.
Bottom line is to read the label – understand WHAT you are putting in your body – look for ingredients that you can pronounce – oftentimes, the fewer ingredients, the better.
Join me next week for more on my favorite shake recipes!