When you hear for the first time how much protein you should really be aiming for, you’re likely saying something like, “It’s so hard to eat that much protein, how do I do that?!” And we get it. It’s a lot more than what most of us are used to. Mainly because our culture has steered us in the direction of more carbs and fats, and more tasty ones at that – which then make it hard to consume more whole food sources of protein. And in our experience, we have found some major things that can get in the way of us getting enough protein. Read through to see if any of these ring true for you…
- You have gut issues. Like bloating, gas, acid reflux, feeling overly full, pain in your sternum after eating, etc. And usually gut problems develop over time, which means they take time to heal. So be patient with this one, and as you work to heal your gut (with a coach, doctor, or practitioner), learn to avoid foods you digest poorly, and take your time to chew your food, and stay in a “rest and digest” state (calm, breathing deeply) for at least an hour after.
- You’re eating too much of the same source of protein. Perhaps it’s even too plain, and in big chunks. So instead of trying to get 30-50g protein from just a plain chicken breast, try cutting it up into smaller pieces, mixing it with another protein or two, throw it in a bowl with veggies or foods you really like, and make sure you have enough salt/spices and a fat source to make it taste super delicious to you. For example, one of my favorites is some shredded chicken breast with chopped bacon, arugula or brussel sprouts, cooked sweet potatoes, avocado slices, garlic powder and salt. I may even add an egg or 2 on top.
- You’re eating too many plant-based proteins. In order to get enough protein (and bioavailable protein), you usually have to eat more in quantity/volume(in calories and grams) plant protein in order to get the same amount of grams of protein. This can be filling you up, AND/or be causing some GI upset because of that. Try incorporating more animal based protein options, or at least experiment, and see which protein sources have you feeling better.
- You’re eating too many carbs or fats before the protein. Simply put, you’re not prioritizing it, and you’re filling up on other things – usually hyper-palatable things. Remember, protein is THE most important macronutrient. Try eating the majority of your protein first when sitting down to a meal, and throughout the day. So breakfast (or first meal) should be chalk full protein. Minimum of 30g for most people. Try decreasing the amount of sides you have with it, if you’re having trouble eating it all due to fullness.
- You could be drinking too many liquids with your meal. Try drinking more between meals so you don’t get too full while you’re eating your proteins. If you notice this is you, drink 4-6oz with a meal, wait at least 30-60 minutes post meal before starting to drink your water more heavily again.
- Lastly, you don’t have enough protein prepped or on hand. Make it easier for yourself! A quality protein shake here and there, Chomps jerky sticks, batch cook so you have leftovers, sliced turkey for grab’n’go, etc. Then smaller protein “sides” – hummus, seed crackers, raw nuts, pumpkin seeds, greek yogurt, and nut butter. Also, know that when we eat out, or are at social events, most other people aren’t eating enough protein too. So have a plan, adjust, be flexible in knowing you need to try a bit harder to get enough protein it. Order extra protein – another serving, salmon AND chicken on your salad, sausage on your pizza, and extra egg or 2, etc. You can even eat before or after an event to get in what you need.
If you’re not sure which one is you, try one of the above adjustments for a week, see how it goes. Stay curious 🙂 If your goal is to lean out a little, keep strength, feel good and energized, and have more metabolic flexibility, trust us in that you need to prioritize protein. So keep at it, reach out if you’re needing more guidance!