Whenever a new online client starts, one of the first things they do is track their nutrition so we can see what a typical day or days look like for them.
There is some error involved with keeping a food log, however this seems to be the best method given all the resources we have available. Read here about how even nutrition professionals under report their intake.
9 times out of 10 one thing that is lacking is protein.
This makes sense, it doesn’t taste as good as carbohydrates and fats. It also usually requires planning and meal prepping.
Also, when you go out to restaurants or parties, the meals are carb and fat heavy. Would you rather have pizza or grilled chicken when you go out? Most of us would prefer pizza.
New clients will commonly say things like “wow I didnt realize how low my protein levels were”, or “i’m having trouble getting the amount of protein that is prescribed”.
Protein is not a magic food that will cure all your problems, however when you start to lift weights and are more active it becomes more important for recovery, building and maintaining muscle, and it can help with hunger. Clients will complain about how full they feel when they eat higher protein, a good problem to have when fat loss is the goal.
Protein also requires the most energy to digest and absorb, so there are some metabolism benefits to a higher protein diet. Albeit a small one, but it may add up over time.
With a low protein intake, you are shooting yourself in the foot if fat loss and/or muscle growth is your goal.
But just telling someone to get more protein in isn’t great advice.
Here are common strategies used for online clients to get more protein in.
1-2x per week shop for your lean protein sources for the week. Everything starts here.
If you dont have any lean protein sources at the house, how can you expect to get any in your diet? Its going to make it tough and nearly impossible.
Good sources of lean protein:
- Chicken Breast
- Lean Steak Cuts
- Turkey Breast
- Ground Turkey
- Pork Tenderloin
- Low-Fat & Non-Fat Dairy
- Egg Whites
- Greek yogurt (my favorite is the oikos triple zero)
- Tuna packets
- Protein powder
If you don’t have a regular routine down, it may be wise to pick the days you are going to go to the grocery store so it becomes a habit.
For example, every Sunday and Wednesday evening I will go to the grocery store. This may change over time but getting consistent here will really help with adherence.
Cook your lean protein in bulk for the week, it takes 20-30 minutes to have upwards of 10 meals accounted for. You can grill, bake, or whatever your preferred cooking method is.
Set aside 1-2 days per week to meal prep.
With online clients we find that staying consistent with the days you meal prep is very beneficial and helps with adherence.
If you haven’t done this before, look at time blocking 1 hour or so on the days you choose to prep. If you don’t have a specific time or plan to meal prep then you can expect it to get pushed off when other things come up.
Stacking it on top of something you already do can be very beneficial. For example, maybe you go on a walk every Sunday morning with your spouse or friend, you could plan on meal prepping after that walk since it is something you already do.
This beats saying “Ill just do it sometime today”.
If you are serious about changing your body then you will make time to meal prep just like you make time for your workouts.
Have handy sources available
If you prepped then you already have some protein available for meals that are lacking lean protein.
Now the next step is to have handy sources available for those meals when you are either sick of your meal prep protein or you are on the run.
Here is my list of handy protein sources to have on hand:
- Tuna packets.
- Greek yogurt.
- Protein powder, drinks, or bars.
- Liquid egg whites.
- Deli meat like chicken and turkey.
Now if you have meal prepped some lean protein sources AND you have handy sources available, you will most likely have 90% of your meals covered.
Then it simply just comes down to executing.
For the other 10% you can enjoy whatever else you like or eat out at your favorite restaurant since you have already hit most of your meals.
Plan the night before
Enter what you will eat the next day protein wise.
Having a plan is much better than winging it.
“Fortune favors the prepared.”
One of the single best things you can do is plan your protein the night before or the morning of.
If this is the macronutrient you struggle with the most (and many do) then make a plan to ensure you get enough each day.
Clients who don’t plan ahead usually are the ones who struggle to get enough protein each day, and this probably comes down to the fact that it just isn’t a habit yet so its easy to overlook.
Once you do this for a few weeks you start to get used to it and you will be able to ease up on the planning and get in enough protein may be second nature to you.
Use a food prep service
I recently began using Trifecta to help with my protein needs. I don’t like to meal prep so spending money to save this time is a trade off that is worth making to me at this point in my life.
I just order protein and then mix it with things like rice, potatoes, tortillas, veggies, etc.
If it is something that you can justify I think this is a great option to help you get more protein in. For me, this give me the peace of mind to not have to worry about doing something else right now, which is something you cant put a price on. Most people just see what the cost is, but rarely do we focus on how spending a little more money saves us time and peace of mind which makes other aspects of your life better.
Here is a link to Trifectas website: https://www.trifectanutrition.com/
How much should you have each day?
At the very LEAST make sure you check these two boxes first:
➡At LEAST100g per day.
➡3-5 palm-sized servings per day.
Eventually the goal would be to get clients around .8 to 1g per pound of bodyweight. But this shouldn’t be a focus until the one of the two things listed above are hit consistently.
I hope this helps you get more protein in your diet.
If you are ready to take your training and nutrition to the next level then fill out the link here and lets get to work!