5 fast & effective ways to boost your daily protein intake
At its most basic level, the formula for building muscle is simple: train, eat, sleep, repeat. When it comes to the eating aspect of that equation, two important principles apply: Consuming the highest quality macronutrients possible, and getting an adequate amount of protein to meet your body’s repair and recovery requirements.
It can be a struggle to physically consume all the protein you need on a daily basis to keep muscles growing to build a great physique. Try out these tips to remove much of the burden so you can more easily meet your daily protein requirements.
1. Broaden your options
We generally stick to the more common sources of protein when compiling our shopping lists or making meals. These are predominantly animal sources such as dairy, beef, fish, chicken, turkey, venison, milk and eggs.
There are many other foods – mainly plants – from which we can derive additional quality proteins. By simply combining one or two different sources, you’ll effectively boost the amount of protein you get from every meal.
Plant protein can be found in many grains and a number of sources such as:
• Brown rice
• Soya beans
• Miso soup.
You can also snack on various nuts like almonds, seeds and coconuts, which all have above average protein contents.
2. Create synergistic combos
The amino acid profile of a protein source will determine how much of that protein can effectively be used to help build and repair muscle tissue. All animal protein is considered a complete protein as it contains all essential amino acids.
Conversely, plant-based sources such as grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and vegetables are generally all incomplete protein sources as certain amino acids may be missing.
With a little education and understanding you can combine incomplete protein sources to create complimentary protein combos. This will ensure you benefit from a complete amino acid profile at each meal, especially if you aren’t eating a portion of animal proteins.
For example, you could combine:
• Grains and legumes by eating rice and beans
• Natural peanut butter on whole-wheat bread.
You can also combine grains with nuts and seeds to increase the protein content of your meal.
3. Drink your proteins
Juicing with good sources of vegetable proteins can significantly increase your protein intake without the physical burden of eating all that food. You can also boost the protein content of any ‘juiced’ meal by simply adding a few egg whites, or a scoop or two of whey protein.
You can also make educated choices on the liquids you drink to get more protein per glass. Natural coconut milk, for instance, has a much higher protein content than almond milk. Various fortified milk products on the market and various flavoured milks also offer boosted protein contents and provide added minerals and vitamins.
There are also an increasing number of well-formulated ready-to-drink (RTD) supplements available, offering highly bioavailable protein in a quick and convenient pre-packaged product to boost protein intake on the go.
4. Optimise your digestion
The types of food you eat at meal time can interfere with the rate of protein absorption, because gastric emptying is inversely proportional to the energy content of a meal.
Meals with high fat contents, are extremely energy-dense, which means they can slow the rate of gastric emptying and limit the rate of protein absorption. Every subsequent step in the digestion process is then also delayed, which can negatively impact on recovery.
So limit your intake of high-fat foods when eating high protein meals, especially after exercise. It is best to combine proteins and carbs during these vital meal times.
5. Supplement your intake
Incorporating well-formulated supplements onto your nutritional plan is the ideal way to boost your daily protein intake, without all the hassle.
Boost your recovery efforts with the right supplements.
Whey protein supplements offer high quality bioavailable proteins that deliver a complete amino-acid profile. They can therefore be used at specific times of the day to ensure your body gets all the protein it needs at the right time, in the right quantity.
Supplementing with branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) also provides your body with the essential building blocks required to repair damaged muscle and create new tissue.
Glutamine is another important supplement to use to ensure adequate protein intake because, while it’s a non-essential amino acid, heavy training can make it conditionally essential, which means you will need to increase stores directly through your diet.