By GMB Advisor, Nutritionist Melissa Fine
The fact that protein keeps you full and satiated is old news, but with our busy lifestyles, it’s something we’re not always mindful of when throwing meals together or grabbing something on-the-go. Here are four key signals from your body, telling you to up the protein.
1. You’re Hungry not long after Eating
Unlike carbs, protein has minimal impact on your blood sugar level, and so you can be including it in your main meals and snacks – along with quality carbs and healthy fats - it can help stop that blood sugar spike and crash.
2. Sugar Cravings
If you’re digging into the pantry or office sugar stash come 11am/3pm, a lack of protein may be the reason. Giving in to sugar cravings and eating more of the white stuff creates a vicious cycle, as your blood sugar will continue to rise and fall, so you’ll keep looking for the sweet stuff.
3. Brain Fog
Struggling to get a simple task done or feeling a bit ‘blah’/out of it? That jam toast you had for breakkie and muffin you had mid-morning might be responsible.
4. Thinning Hair
Because our hair is made of protein fibres, adequate dietary protein is necessary for hair health. One of the first questions I ask clients when they complain of thinning hair or their hair falling out is “What’s your protein intake like?”
If any of these sound like you and you’re looking for no-fuss ways to boost your protein intake, here are some simple swaps/additions you can make today:
Swap white toast with butter or jam for soy linseed toast with natural peanut butter/cottage cheese/eggs cooked to your liking
Add a handful of raw nuts/a dessert spoon of ground linseed or LSA and a scoop of protein powder to your go-to smoothie or breakfast bowl
Lunch and Dinner:
A colourful salad or a plate of roast veggies are great, but make sure they’re topped with a decent serve of protein too, be it a couple hard-boiled eggs, a chicken breast, canned wild salmon or sardines, or a mini can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. Do the same protein-boosting to your salad and cheese sandwich
Add a palm-sized serve of protein to your pasta, be it leftover grilled chicken, canned tuna or smoked salmon. ‘Eggy pasta’ is a good option if you’re vego – simply scramble a couple eggs into just-cooked, drained pasta while it’s still in the pot. Mungbean or black bean pasta is a good vegan option
Pair veggie sticks with hummus or tahini
Slice fresh fruit and serve your favourite nut butter; try strawberries/banana/pear/apple with almond butter and thank us later :)
When there’s no time for snack prep, a snack filled with nuts and seeds like Luv Sum Snack Ball is a wholesome option. This baby tastes like a treat and boasts 5g of plant-based protein from nuts and seeds.
Have any protein-rich meal and snack ideas? We’d love to hear from you!