Now that ya’ll are armed with the whats and whens to eat of fats and carbs, lets talk about my favorite topic – protein! In this post we will address both what types of protein are best and when you should eat them.
First, let’s talk about what types. I stick to lean proteins as they are generally higher in protein AND lower in calories and fat. Here is a pretty good list of lean proteins to include:
Chicken – Skinless breasts or tenderloins, Ground.
Turkey – Skinless breasts or tenderloins, Ground.
Beef – Top Sirloin, Tenderloin, Flank, Strip/New York/Top round, Eye of round, Bottom round, At least 93% lean ground beef.
Pork – Tenderloin, Sirloin, Top Loin, Center loin
Fish – Tuna, Tilapia, Mahi Mahi, Sole, Halibut, Cod, Orange Roughy, Shrimp, Scallops, Calimari (not deep fried!). Basically, any white fish is pretty safe. Salmon is very healthy as well but, due to a high fat content (although it’s good fats!!) it is very high in calories. So, just keep it in moderation.
Miscellaneous proteins – Egg whites, Eggs (in moderation due to high cholesterol levels,) Low fat cottage cheese, Low fat/fat free Greek yogurt (watch out for flavoured varieties as they tend to have a lot of sugar!) Protein powders.
Alright, so there is a list of the proteins I would try to include as much as possible. Of course, you can eat other cuts of meat, just be mindful that they are higher in fat and calories so they should be consumed in moderation! Just like everything in the world 🙂
So, when should you eat these lovely critters?
Anytime. Always. There is no rules about trying to limit them at night or not pairing them with certain nutrients etc. Protein should be the major part of your diet! It is recommended to get AT LEAST .08-1g of protein per your body weight (in lbs) each day. For highly active people, it is recommended to get at least 1.25-1.5 grams per lb. That equates to quite a lot of protein! Protein helps keep you fuller for longer, keep your muscles, and grow new muscles! It’s a winner of a nutrient.
The times that I would say you need to make sure that you are getting protein is right after a weight workout, and right before bed.
Right after your workout is when your body starts repairing the muscle breakdown that it just underwent. It is absolutely crucial for you to give your muscles some protein at this time to help them repair and get stronger! I would suggest aiming to get that protein in no later than 45 minutes after a weight workout, and even earlier if you can! I tend to aim for 30 minutes afterward. Additionally, you will want to consume a quick digesting protein powder at this time. I highly recommend a whey protein powder. They come in lots of yummy flavours too! My current favorites are Muscleology’s cookies ‘n’ cream or Trutein’s chocolate covered banana or cinnabun! So delish!
Additionally, your body repairs itself while you sleep. For this reason, you want your body to have something to work with! It is a very wise idea to throw some protein down the hatch right before bed so that your muscles can adequately repair themselves. In this case you definitely want to stick to super lean and slow digesting proteins. Examples of these are fish, chicken breasts, Casein protein powder (not whey, but it would be better than no protein!) Egg whites and low fat cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. My favorite pre-bed snack is cottage cheese blended together (in my little Magic Bullet) with chocolate casein protein powder, stevia, and some natural peanut butter. It tastes like chocolate peanut butter cheesecake! It is so amazing. Highlight of my food day a lot of the times!
That wraps up our breakdown of the 3 major nutrients in the food we eat! I hope you enjoyed the little series, and I hope you learned a thing or two!
Stay healthy! 🙂