Protein is an essential macronutrient for the body. Protein is needed for:
- Muscle repair, growth and maintenance
- Supporting strong muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons
- Moving oxygen to muscles- Myoglobin
- A Healthy Weight
- Immune Function
- Reducing muscle soreness post exercise
For weight loss, protein is a great way to keep you satisfied longer, avoid overeating and reduce sugar/carbohydrate cravings throughout the day. Protein is not stored in the body so it is essential to get from your diet in both plant and animal sources. It is been shown that spacing out your protein intake throughout the day can help maximize protein building in the body for our muscles. It is important not only for athletes but for weight management to maintain muscle mass while we tone and lose fat. For athletes, it is essential to get in protein after we workout to replenish and rebuild our muscles to prevent further breakdown. Getting in at least 20-30 grams of protein within an hour of working out is ideal.
For someone without kidney issues, ideally we should aim for 20-30 grams of protein at each meal and 10-15 grams at snacks. If you are an athlete or workout more frequently this number may change based on activity level. If you are unsure about your protein level intakes it is best to contact a dietitian to know what your ideal protein range and timing is for overall health and optimal performance.
Sometimes, snacks can be our downfall in our diets and we can reach for quick convenient unhealthy choices. Here is a list of a few healthy snacks to add into your diet that have both a great source of protein and carbohydrate (fruit, vegetable or whole grain) for balance, energy and satiety.
- 1 Medium Apple Sliced and 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter (Adam’s is a good choice)
- 10-12 Baby Carrots with 2 Tablespoons of Hummus
- 1 Rice Cake with 1 Tablespoon of Almond Butter and ½ Medium Banana
- An RX Bar or Kind Bar
- 3 Cups of Air Popped Popcorn with 10-12 Unsalted Almonds
- ½ Cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese with 1 cup of Fresh Pineapple or 1 Medium Peach Sliced
- 1 Piece of Whole Grain Toast (Dave’s Bread is a good choice) with ¼ Avocado Mashed and a Hard Boiled Egg Sliced on Top
- Baked Chickpeas (See Recipe Below)
- 1 Cup of Cherry Tomatoes with a String Cheese or BabyBel Cheese Wheel
- 1 Protein Doughnut, Energy Bite or Protein Cereal Square (See Recipe Below)
Baked BBQ Chickpeas
- 2 T of Olive Oil
- 2 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 tsp Pure Maple Syrup
- 2 14-15 oz cans of Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
- Drain and rinse your chickpeas.
- On a paper towel or towel, evenly spread your beans and let dry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a cookie sheet with either foil or parchment paper.
- Evenly spread your dried beans on cookie sheet
- Bake for 40-60 minutes. Check every 20 minutes and stir around a bit to get an even bake.
- While chickpeas are baking, mix together cumin, chili, onion and garlic powder, salt, and maple syrup.
- After baking, quickly transfer to a bowl and mix with 2 T Olive Oil.
- Then spread the seasonings and mix.
Chocolate Protein Doughnuts
- Cooking Spray
- 1/3 cup Coconut Flour
- 1/3 cup Coconut Sugar
- 1/3 cup Chocolate Protein Powder ( I like Vega, Garden of Life Orgain Protein Powder)
- ¼ t Sea Salt
- 1 t Baking Powder
- 1 t Vanilla Extract
- 2 T Unsweetened Applesauce
- 1/3 cup & 2 T Almond Miilk
- 2 Egg Whites
- 1 Egg
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray with cooking spray a doughnut or muffin pan.
- Mix Coconut Flour, Coconut Sugar, Protein Powder, Salt and Baking Powder together.
- In a separate bowl, mix Vanilla, Applesauce, Almond Milk, Egg Whites and Egg together.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.
- Add Mixture evenly to pan
- Bake for 15-18 minutes
- Cook and Enjoy!
Almond Cashew Date Energy Bites
- 1 cup Diced Dates
- 1/3 cup Raw Whole Cashews
- ½ cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
- 1 t Vanilla Extract
- ¼ cup Pure Maple Syrup or Honey
- ½ cup Almond Butter
- Place all in a food processor and mix until well blended. If dry, add 1 T more of almond butter.
- Place mixture in fridge for 30-60 minutes.
- Roll into balls and place either in fridge or freezer and enjoy for the week!
Protein Cereal Bars
- 2 cups Cereal ( I like Gluten Free Cheerio’s)
- 2 scoops of Vanilla Protein Powder ( I like Vega, Garden of Life or Orgain)
- ½ Cup Nut Butter
- ½ Cup & 2 T Honey
- Take a square pan and line with parchment paper
- Mix cereal and protein powder together in a bowl
- Over medium heat on the stove, mix nut butter and honey until creamy consistency.
- Add nut butter mixture to cereal mixture and mix well.
- Place mixture into a square pan and place into fridge for 30-60 minutes.
- Cut into squares, place back into fridge and enjoy for the week!