A Protein Potpourri: 10 Ways To Get More Protein In Your Diet
Outside of actually lifting weights, one of the hardest parts of strength training is weightlifting nutrition -- getting the right balance of calories from the right foods.
That balance, which includes an emphasis on protein for weightlifters in their strength training challenges, is crucial to making sure your muscles have the right amount of nutrients to build back after you break them down during your workout.
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For beginning weightlifters who have a normal diet of around 2,500 calories a day, that can mean adding 300 to 1,000 extra calories to their daily diet. Of those calories, you’ll find the general rule of thumb is 1 gram of protein (4 calories) of your body weight. For someone who weighs 180 pounds, that’s 180 grams of protein. If your weight gain challenge is more intense, you'll need to factor the number of days per week you work out in your weightlifting nutrition plan.
As a point of comparison, a normal diet for someone at that weight recommends about 65 grams of protein.
So, what does eating 180 grams of protein look like? Let’s break it down in terms of eggs, one of the most commonly used sources of protein.
An egg has 13 grams of protein. If you weigh around 180 pounds, you’re looking at 14 eggs.
Unless you’re Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, that’s a lot of eggs. Likely you’ll get some of that protein throughout the day from other sources.
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10 Foods To Get Your Protein Intake Up
- Broccoli - Chop up a cup of broccoli for 3 quick grams of protein, an easy way to boost your rices or stir fries.
- Chia Seeds - In addition to high fiber content, chia seeds pack two grams of protein in each tablespoon.
- Cottage Cheese - A cup of cottage cheese weighs in at 28 grams of protein. If you don’t mind the texture, this is a quick way to get those numbers up.
- Goat Cheese - Each ounce (equivalent of about two dice) of goat cheese has 6 grams of protein. Roll those dice a few times and you’re racking up the grams.
- Greek Yogurt - A great post-workout snack, Greek Yogurt has 20 grams of protein per cup.
- Green Peas - Each cup of green peas contains eight grams of protein, so apply liberally to pastas and salad.
- Parmesan Cheese - Each ounce of Parmesan cheese has eight grams of protein. Translation: cheese pizza with some extra cheese.
- Quinoa - Like chia seeds, people often come to quinoa for the fiber. Still, each cup has 8 grams of protein, so there’s plenty of nutritional value to go around.
- Spinach - A cup of cooked spinach (or kale or collard greens) adds another 5 grams to your total. Just make sure to measure your cup after you’ve cooked it down to be sure you’re getting the benefits.
- Whole Grain Pasta - While it’s not the same flavor as white flour pasta, you might sing a different tune when you find out that each cup of whole grain pasta has 8 grams of protein.
Like the egg example above, it’s going to be hard to find that one ingredient that makes eating upwards of 100 grams of protein in a day easy.
That’s why it’s helpful to be aware of some of the other ways you can add a sprinkling of protein into your meals. By favoring ingredients that are naturally high in proteins, you don’t have to think so much about the daily count.
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What about you? Do you have any go-to treats for getting more protein in your diet?