Protein is a macronutrient that provides 4 calories per 1 gram. Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of cells. There are 20 amino acids, 9 essential and 11 non-essential. Essential amino acids are ones that our body cannot make and we need to obtain from foods.
Animal protein is complete protein, meaning that it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Animal protein is more bio-available compared to plant protein.
Plant proteins are non- complete and no not contain all essential amino acids. Different plant sources can be consumed together to obtain all essential amino acids which are complementary proteins.
Protein preserves lean body mass, provides satiety when eating, regulates appetite, aids in blood glucose control, improves bone density.
General rule of thumb: protein portion- 1/4 of your plate ( 4-6 oz).
Quality of meat is very important in not only how the animals are raised but the nutrients they provide.
Organic Grass fed meat, wild caught fish, organic pasture raised eggs and poultry should be consumed when able. The animals are treated more humanely compared to conventional raised animals. The animals are healthier, have less hormones, antibiotics, less stress, inflammation. The animal protein contains higher amounts of nutrients as well.
- Chicken breast and thighs- Organic Pasture Raised
- Beef (Red meat)- Organic Grass-fed
- Turkey- Organic Pasture Raised
- Pork- Organic Pasture Raised
- Salmon- Wild Caught
- Herring, Mackerel, Tuna- Wild Caught
- Codfish, Shrimp- Wild Caught
- Whole Eggs- Organic Pasture Raised
Conventional raised animals often have poor living conditions, high stress, hormones, antibiotics. They are also fed diets to “fatten them up” which are different than what they would naturally consume in nature. It is important what your food eats.
To increase your protein intake, start adding a protein source to each meal or snack!
Some of my favorite protein packed snacks:
Avocado Egg Salad
Hard Boiled Eggs
Tuna Salad + Veggies
Apples + Nut Butter
Carrots + Hummus
Real Food Ingredient Protein Bars
What’s your favorite protein packed snack?