How To Eat, Part III: Lead With Protein

My goal with what I do is to make being healthy feel approachable and do-able.  It shouldn’t feel like an insurmountable task to change your health!  My strategies are meant to be a springboard for ideas and possibilities.  These ideas may work for you.  But if they don’t, I hope you leave my blogs feeling as if you can pave your own way.

That is what my How To Eat series is about:  ideas for helpful strategies.

In Part 1, I talked about BUILDING YOUR BOUNDARIES — my way of creating limits and checkpoints for my choices while still allowing myself to eat any food.

In Part 2, I introduced my strategy of REVIEW AND PREVIEW — how I look back on choices I made during the week and think of what’s to come in my week in order to make a really good choice in the moment.

Today is Part 3, and I’m going to introduce to you a simple change I made that helped me a ton.  It isn’t an eat this/eat that type of thing…it is a subtle mindset shift or rather a change in your starting point!

Since we are talking about how to eat, let me illustrate my THEN versus my NOW.

At the time I started bootcamp my daily meals would have looked really similar to this:

Breakfast:  boxed cereal or a bagel with peanut butter

Lunch:  sandwich with deli meat and flavored yogurt or microwave meal

Afternoon Snack:  pretzels

Dinner:  pasta based meal (like spaghetti or lasagna) and frozen veggies

Evening Snack:  bowl of boxed cereal

My meals were heavily centered on grains…that was what I selected FIRST as the cornerstone of my meal.  Not only was I overdoing the carbs with all that grain, but I wasn’t selecting veggies very often, nor was I having very much protein.

Today, my daily meals look something like this:

Breakfast:  eggs (Paleo pancakes, egg cups, fried egg with avocado toast); plain Greek yogurt with fruit; protein based smoothie

Lunch:  Large salad with protein leftover from previous nights dinner; chicken salad/egg salad/tuna salad over greens

Snack:  Nuts and fruit; cheese stick

Dinner:  Curry coconut chicken; taco salad; stir fry  (every meal has a veggie side of some sort and MAYBE a grain side)

My meals are now centered on protein with a veggie choice close behind.  You can see I eat a lot LESS grain than I used to…and much MORE protein.

 

Most of us aren’t getting the protein we need.  Protein is important to our bodies health:  it aids in the formation of the brain, nervous system, blood, muscle, skin, and hair; it transports iron, fats, oxygen and vitamins/minerals through the body; and provides the key to the acid-base balance of the body.

Research suggests that protein helps to preserve lean muscle mass and assure that the majority of weight loss comes from fat.  So if you are strength training (which I hope you ARE to some degree), then you want to fuel all that great muscle you’ve built.  In laymen’s terms:  strength training builds muscle, the more muscle we have the more fuel is required by our body, if you’ve got muscles fuel them so your fat burning processes burn fat instead of muscle!

How much protein to eat is almost always one of the first questions I get when I talk about eating MORE protein.  This is a sticky question, especially since I’m not a dietician or nutritionist.  There are lots of recommendations as to the “right” amount, but I’m willing to bet most of you are eating far less than you could be.

I have found for myself, as well as with friends and clients, that increasing protein intake has helped me feel much better.  My suggestion as you get started on learning how to eat is simply to focus on getting MORE protein.

The way to get MORE protein is to use the strategy of LEAD WITH PROTEIN.

How do you do this?

Begin to think of your meals in terms of “What protein can I have?”  followed by “What veggie can I add?”

I call this the 1-2-Punch:

  1. Lead with protein (choose this first), and then
  2. Add a veggie.

Breakfast doesn’t always include a veggie.  If I am feeling like a really great omelet/quiche/or scramble I’ll add veggies, but admittedly I get bored of that so veggies don’t always make the plate for my morning meal.  But for lunch and dinner, I use the 1-2-Punch:  LEAD WITH PROTEIN, THEN ADD VEGGIES.

And finally, as an added helper I’ve just released my free Meal Planning Blueprint (#MPB).  This little tool helps you build an evening meal plan each week in under 10 minutes, helps you build an arsenal of go-to recipes that work for YOUR life, and it helps you create a binder of all your most used recipes (think of it as a personalized cookbook).  The MPB shows you how to plan your evening meals by LEADING WITH PROTEIN.  All the recipes and the organization of the binder are grouped by protein and that is how you meal plan:  protein based.   Give the MPB a shot and see how it can help make dinner hour a whole lot easier for you.  Get it here:  Meal Planning Blueprint.

 

Something as simple as changing your starting point can be a huge helper on the way to feeling better and creating better health for yourself.  Try this little strategy and see if it helps you eat better!  Change takes time, but finding little shortcuts can make all the difference.  🙂

 

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I’ve talked about the importance of protein in my newsletter and gotten into more nitty-gritty details about recommended amounts.  If more in-depth information like this appeals to you, get signed up for my weekly newsletter.  The content I share in that newsletter weekly is exclusive–I don’t publish it anywhere else–and I want YOU to get all the information you can to get rolling on those great changes in your health and mindset.  Sign up here —–>  http://eepurl.com/bM_c_D

 

 

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