Getting healthy protein on the daily is important so that we can keep our metabolism running, our energy levels up and blood sugar levels stable. Not eating enough good protein can lead to a plethora of symptoms — sluggish metabolism, low energy or fatigue, a low immune system, trouble building muscle mass and issues with blood sugar levels. As you become more active and focus on your fitness, protein plays a key role in giving you the energy needed to crush your workout and recover effectively after.
To increase protein intake, you don’t have to bulk up on chicken, beef and fish. BORING! There are other creative ways to sneak it in so that you can stay healthy and improve your training performance.
- Collagen Peptides: get super sneaky and add to your morning coffee, tea, smoothie or water. I use Vital Proteins (it literally has no taste so it won’t ruin your cup of yum — promise). You can even bake with it if you want to add a punch to your healthy treats. Just 2 scoops contains 18g of protein. Collagen also promotes healthy hair, skin and nails. Yes please!
- Edamame: 1 cup of cooked edamame contains nearly 17g of protein. This magic little bean is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids and is also cholesterol-free. Get a side with your sushi or add to your favorite salad.
- Quinoa: 1 cup of cooked quinoa has about 8g of protein. This might not be a new one but you can get super creative with this superfood. This whole grain will keep you full and satisfied. Use it as an oatmeal replacement, whip up hearty protein balls, or you can even coat your homemade chicken nuggets with quinoa instead of breadcrumbs. My personal favorite is adding it in soups (like chili for example) and on my favorite salads.
- Nuts or Nut Butter: When your 3pm snack attack hits, grab some of your favorite nuts or spread some nut butter on an apple or banana. I’m currently loving the mixed nut butter from Trader Joe’s that contains 5g of protein per 2 Tbsp. I also use this product in some of my smoothies.
- Eggs: This one might seem like a no brainer, but you can seamlessly add eggs to other meals besides breakfast. Hardboiled eggs (at 6g per egg) make easy on-the-go snacks. Add over easy to your sandwiches, burgers or on your pizza. Egg-cellent!
Are you curious how much protein you need on a daily basis? It isn’t one-size-fits-all. Start with this online calculator as a baseline but per usual it’s recommended that you check with your doctor or nutritionalist.
Bonus: I love Rawxies Heart Bars. They are vegan, gluten free, soy free and delicious. Each heart bar contains around 4g of protein. They are a staple for me on race days.