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I’ve been reading up a lot on macros lately, particularly protein. It does so much for our bodies – in fact, it is considered the main building block of our bodies; it repairs and maintains our muscles, hair, eyes, and organs. Another important function is for energy. Interestingly enough, because it’s so abundant in foods, most of us get enough protein from our regular diets and don’t need to supplement. Of course body builders and others trying to increase muscle mass need more than the general population, but for those of us looking to have a healthy well-balanced diet, we likely get enough from our diets. The most important consideration for us is making sure that we consume quality proteins.
Today we’re going to look at some of the health benefits of protein. Whether you’re looking to build muscle, lose weight, or just eat a well-balanced diet, this is a key ingredient to success.
1. Increase muscle mass and lean tissue. Don’t let the words muscle mass scare you here. Eating plenty of protein will not make you bulk up. Body builders eat very specific amounts of protein and lift extremely heavy weights. If you aren’t following a regimented plan like a body builder, you aren’t going to bulk up. You will however, start to develop more lean tissue by eating healthy protein. This results in fat loss as the muscles are converted to lean tissue.
2. Less hunger and lower caloric intake. Protein is filling so you are satisfied more quickly and eat fewer calories. This is what makes a high-protein diet ideal for weight loss.
3. Better bone density. Research has shown that higher protein intake leads to greater bone density. Greater bone density can lessen the risk of osteoporosis. As we age and our bones weaken, increasing bone density is a good idea.
4. Better brain function. Because the brain acts as a muscle and protein fuels our vital organs, having adequate protein is good for brain power.
5. Faster recovery from injury. Since protein is the building block of muscles, it not only builds muscle, but helps to repair it as well. Whether you are recovering from an injury or just recovering from a tough workout, protein will help.
Now that you know some of the benefits of consuming enough quality protein, let’s look at some simple ways to make sure you get enough protein in your diet each day.
- Create a protein-rich meal plan. I always recommend meal planning as a way to eat a well-balanced diet. Including plenty of protein is one step of this process.
- Add a variety of protein sources to your diet. Meat is a main source of protein. But even if you don’t each much meat (or at all), many other foods are good sources of protein, including quinoa, beans, legumes, eggs, dairy products, and nuts.
- Include a quality protein with each meal and snack. With so many different sources, adding a different protein to each meal is easy to do. Eggs for breakfast, almonds for a mid-morning snack, quinoa and beans for lunch, and lean chicken for dinner is a simple way to make sure you’ve got it covered at each meal.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time to cook or meal plan, STOUFFER’S® has a great solution that can help. I noticed these in the frozen entree section at Walmart and the “25 grams of protein” on the box caught my attention. I’m ordinarily not a huge fan of frozen dinners since they are usually so small and aren’t very filling. And since my husband has to take his lunch to work every day, I can’t send him with a small meal that leaves him hungry. We always try to have leftovers for him to take but that doesn’t always work out, so I need to have back up on hand. He works hard in a manual labor job so he needs a satisfying protein-packed meal to give him plenty of energy and hold him over until he gets home.
With six different varieties including steak fajita, cilantro lime chicken, rotisserie seasoned turkey, bourbon steak, oven roasted chicken, and Monterey chicken, there is a delicious meal for every taste that will satisfy even the heartiest appetite. Each meal contains at least 25 grams of protein – which is almost half the daily recommended amount for men and is ready in under 10 minutes.
Just look at this STOUFFER’S® Fit Kitchen Steak Fajita meal. It’s made with tender prime rib steak in smoked red chile sauce with a mix of red and green peppers and seasoned brown rice. Doesn’t it look delicious and filling?
And how about the STOUFFER’S® Fit Kitchen Cilantro Lime Chicken? This meal is all white meat chicken with black bean and corn mix and seasoned brown rice with a verde tomatillo sauce.
How would NEW STOUFFER’S® Fit Kitchen fit into your lifestyle? Which meal would you want to try? Tell me in the comments below!