Protein; what art thou?

Protein is one of the macronutrients (carbohydrates and fats complete the trio). It is involved in many bodily functions including transport,storage, cell/hair growth and production of hormones/enzymes. From an athletic, and indeed a health perspective, protein is the building blocks of muscle (our healthy tissue). It plays a key role in muscle strength, retention, growth and repair.

So what food sources should we look to for our protein?

Red meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy are all high quality protein sources. Legumes, tofu, tempeh and seitan are nutritious plant-based protein options.  All of these foods contain protein but why is it important to include a variety? Well, red meat is a good source of iron and vitamin B12, oily fish has those all important omega 3s while Greek yogurt and milk contain calcium for them bones and legumes are full of fibre! Switching up your protein sources means not only are you getting a variety of flavours but also a variety of nutrients!
Greek yoghurt

Tips on how to improve your intake

A few important things to remember when it comes to protein:
  • Try to split your protein intake evenly throughout the day. This is particularly important for muscle protein synthesis. Many people tend to have a big protein feeding at dinner, a small one at lunch and little to none at breakfast.
  •  Protein is essential to support proper recovery after exercise. While it is important to include some protein in your pre-exercise meal it is even more important to have a protein feeding after to allow the muscles repair and prevent injury!
  • Protein is the most satiating of the three macronutrients. Including it in meals/snacks will help to keep you feeling full for longer.

We are recommended to have 6+ portions of fruit & veg per day. If that target seems unattainable to you right now, start by trying to add a portion at each meal and go from there. There are so many fruit & vegetables out there so if you don’t like one, try another and remember variety is the spice of life!