The most common problems we hear from clients is not being able to pack enough protein into meals! Besides needing protein to build muscle, protein is the building blocks of our body and needed for physical health.
Why is protein important?
- Breathing: protein stores iron, which we need to store oxygen. Having low iron leaves you tired and short of breath
- Protection: Protein make up antibodies which protects your body by binding to bacteria
- Staying alive: protein supports digestion and all chemical reactions required for life
(We explain more behind why protein is important, how they act as antibodies, enzymes, structural support, and biological reserves — all in the free BODZii university course you get when you sign up for our Fall Body Care Challenge, but for now just know it’s important!)
The good news is there are protein snacks and shakes to supplement your intake, but to really get your protein in you need a strategy. We have four for you.
Protein Prep Strategies
1) Make a happy protein list:
Remember, your meal plan should make you happy. Eat foods you enjoy, so try different recipes and find ones you LOVE. When you’re heading to the grocery store, have 2-3 protein sources ready, like chickpeas, chicken or pork (we have a list of recipes below). The best way is to buy in bulk so you can save money in the long run. You can switch between a few favourites, or if you’re tight on time have one go to ingredient (see below).
2) Go with egg (or find your fav):
We love eggs here, but you can replace that with another favourite protein source. Finding your go-to fav can help you a ton. For example: With eggs, from omelettes to stir fry, eggs and egg whites can be great for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks. For breakfast ideas, we have omelette tortilla wraps, egg muffins and low fat egg scramble. We also have a list of recipes below and 28 days of recipe ideas available for our 28 Day Fall Body Care Challenge participants including high protein meals and snacks.
3) Cook in bulk!
Most of us here are busy bees, so if you can cook all your proteins at once, do it! Use an oven, pot roast, slow cooker or BBQ and pick one day in the week to prep. Whether you’re looking to keep it simple or fancy it up, ask our nutrition coaches online in our healthy lifestyle Facebook group for tips to adapt recipes for you!
4) Low on time? Freeze 'em:
If you are really short on time, buy all your proteins for 3-4 weeks and freeze them. For example, cut salmon into 100-150g or buy them pre-cut and put them in freezer safe ziplocs. Note the date with a sharpie to prevent them from spoiling and freeze! You can do the same with chicken breasts. A tip for defrosting, using a skillet or something heavy to smash them will make it easier to defrost. Ground meats can be frozen too in 200-250 g portions for meatballs or mixed into pasta toppings with tomato sauce and spices.
For more on portioning balanced meals, a good rule of thumb is to split evenly between protein, carbs and veggies. This allows you to have more energy throughout the day, and having your protein ready prepped can save you a ton of time.
A protein-focused meal plan example:
Omlette tortilla breakfast wraps - 28 g protein
Brownie Batter Overnight Protein Oatmeal - 20 g protein
Pulled BBQ Chicken Potato Skins - 28 g protein
Tuna patties with cilantro cabbage slaw - 20 g protein
20 Minute Baked Pesto Salmon - 17 g protein
Beef Stir Fry - 25 g protein
Crispy Roasted chickpeas - 8 g protein
In order to make a plan that makes you happy AND healthy, our nutrition coaches need to get to know you on a personal level. Book a free lifestyle assessment for personalized advice or try our 28 Day Fall Body Care Challenge for daily accountability.