8 food and nutrition strategies to help you get all the protein you need for fat loss.
Every woman knows protein is essential to building lean, fat-burning muscle.
What you may not realize is pairing protein with carbohydrate-rich foods slows down the absorption of sugar from your stomach into your bloodstream, which may help keep your blood sugar from skyrocketing and ward off future cravings.
If you aren’t getting enough protein every single day from high-quality sources, you are leaving your weight loss efforts to chance AND you are setting yourself for potential hormonal imbalances, most notably, insulin resistance.
If you’re having trouble fitting protein-packed meals and snacks into your daily routine of working, family, exercising, and everything else (I know, ya’ll do it all), here are some tips to make sure you’re getting all you need to make sure your fat loss efforts aren’t going to waste with the wrong fuel.
As a general rule, you want to eat about 25-35 grams of protein PER meal and 10-20 grams of protein PER snack, for a total of 100-125 grams per day.
Buy in Bulk
Whether you shop at a discount-style store or a regular grocery store, you can often save as much as 50 percent by buying in bulk. Whatever your favorite types of protein—chicken breast, ground beef, eggs, pork, turkey, or lamb—buy large discounted packages.
Divide them into individual portions. Freeze most of them (make certain they’re properly wrapped so they don’t spoil or get freezer burn), and put those that you’ll be using within a day or two in the refrigerator.
Prepare in Bulk
Doing most of your food prep once a week provides a solution to one of the most difficult weight loss nutrition issues: time management. Devote a couple of hours to cooking once a week (Sundays are great for this) and the rest of the week you will be able to make healthy fat loss meals in ¼ of the time. The goal is to prepare as much food as you can without spending all your time in the kitchen.
Pro-Tip: Move meat from the freezer to the refrigerator a day before it will be cooked. Yes, it takes longer to defrost this way, but it adds storage life and helps you avoid food poisoning. The trick is to put only as much meat in the fridge as you plan to cook the next day or two.
Once you’ve cooked several portions of meat, package it so it’s safe and convenient to eat. Place servings into individual containers that are safe to use in a microwave oven or for easy heating on the oven. (Some plastic containers are not microwavable and should be avoided.) As an alternative, place what you’ve cooked into one large container and parcel out your meals on a daily basis (cooked meat should safely last in a fridge for three or four days).
Nuts are good protein sources. You’ve have to eat 100 nuts to meet your protein requirements for lunch, but if you’re in a pinch, grab some RAW nuts and a piece of fruit for a perfect flat belly, healthy fat loss snack.
Here are a few nuts that pack a protein punch:
Almonds rank among the highest-protein nuts, but at a fraction of the price of some higher-end nuts like walnuts. Almonds are also high in manganese and vitamin E, vital defenders against oxidative damage.
Pistachios are lower per-nut in calories than other nuts, but are quite high in protein, fiber, and Vitamin B6.
Cashews are one of the most nutrient-rich nuts with plenty of iron, zinc, and trace minerals.
Walnuts have a superfood reputation since they contain essential fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid.
Pair your serving of nuts (15-20) with a piece of fruit to balance your snack.
I Dare You to Dairy
Eating (organic) dairy products is a good way to meet your daily protein needs. In addition to being high in protein, most dairy products are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals that are important for bone health, including vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
Milk is a good source of protein, with a 1-cup serving providing 8.3 grams. In comparison, a 1-ounce serving of most cheese contains 6.9 grams, and 1 ounce of cottage cheese contains 3.5 grams.
Always buy organic or grass-fed dairy products to avoid rbGH, antibiotics, and GMOs. Not only will you avoid these carcinogenic substances, you’ll also make sure you get the highest quality protein available.
The Incredible Edible Egg
Eggs are nutritional powerhouses, but ONLY when you eat the entire egg, yolk and all.
Since this particular article is about protein, we’re going to focus on the egg white, but you can check out my article on fabulous fats for female fat loss: HERE.
A large egg will give you about 7-8 grams of perfect protein. The scary news is most women eat only ONE egg in the morning, if they eat breakfast at all :GASP:
If they eat eggs at all…:DOUBLE GASP:
In order to get enough protein from eggs in the morning, you HAVE to eat at least TWO eggs, with THREE being the ideal amount.
Before you think, there’s NO WAY, I can eat 3 eggs for breakfast…try.
It’s eggsactly (sorry, couldn’t resist) what your body needs first thing in the morning from an 7-8 hour FAST. Ya gotta BREAK the FAST, with plenty of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
When it comes to protein, not all protein sources are created equal. Therefore, the same holds true for protein POWDERS.
As a disclaimer and so I’m not called a flip-flopper, I firmly stand by my quote:
“Meals should be cooked and eaten, not replaced and mixed”
I do use the “AWESOME” protein examples as a supplement to my real food diet and I strongly believe you should do your best to do the same, however, an occasional “GREAT” protein shake to meet your protein requirements and increase your calorie consumption for the health of your body is MORE important.
You don’t HAVE to use protein powders or meal replacements to lose weight, but I understand you are a busy woman, so making the occasional protein shake is A-OK.
Powder-Buying Tip: Always, always, always buy organic animal-based protein powders (grass-fed whey is best). Avoid ALL soy-based protein powders. Read your protein powder labels to make sure there are no artificial sweeteners, excess sugar, preservatives, additives, and more stuff that keeps you overweight.
Don’t Be A Jerky….Eat Jerky
Unfortunately, when it comes to snacking very few women automatically think “beef jerky.” I think it was back in the Macho Man days of “Snap into a Slim Jim” that beef jerky was marketed strictly to men.
With the rise of the Paleo and Primal movements I’m glad to see more women consuming beef jerky or just animal protein based snacks, without fearing looking or eating like a man.
Finding a protein bar without poor quality protein, soy, or a few different artificial sweeteners, preservatives, MSG, and/or additives is NOT easy.
Take a look at the ingredients on the back of a Jack Link’s label:
Beef, Water, Sugar, Less than 2% Salt, Corn Syrup Solids, Dried Soy Sauce (Soybeans, Salt, Wheat), Hydrolyzed Corn and Soy Protein, Monosodium Glutamate, Maltodextrin, Flavorings, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.
Pro-Tip: A snack serving of beef jerky (about 10-15 grams) with a piece of fruit is the perfect healthy fat loss snack.
The Best Bars in Town
If you’re looking for alcohol, this isn’t the place, but you’re interested in a couple of the best protein bar suggestions, it’s Happy Hour!
I know, you’re busy. I’m busy too…in fact, while I’m writing this I’m also making sure my 20 month-old daughter isn’t trying to eat all of my protein bars.
Actually, I wouldn’t mind if she ate them, because I only buy the highest quality protein bars on the market, because when it comes to protein bars, 95% of the bars at the grocery store are pure GARBAGE.
Here a few organic, non-GMO, and truly healthy protein bars (that you wouldn’t mind your toddler eating):
Rise Bar: The protein in these bars comes from the almond butter and whey protein isolate, which is sourced from Joseph Farms where the cows are not treated with any artificial hormones and are rBST free. All of the products from Rise Bar are certified gluten-free, non-GMO, and are manufactured in a soy and peanut free facility.
GoodonYa Bar: My go-to flavor is the Peanut Butter Honey bar, which has 10g of biodegradable protein, and is a healthy source of fats from hemp, flax, sesame seeds, and peanut butter.
Squarebar: They have three flavors to choose from that are all around 200 calories and pack 12g of plant protein sourced from brown rice protein.
Vega Sport: Vega has two protein bars that combine sprouted rice protein, pea protein, and sacha inchi seeds for a filling source of 15g of protein and 240 calories a bar.
BioTrust Organic Protein Bars: BioTrust bars contain 20 grams of organic protein and are free From Wheat, Soy, Trans Fat and Gluten, GMOs. They also contain 14 grams of filling fiber.
Organic Food Bar: With 22 grams of easy-to-digest organic protein from organic almond butter and organic brown rice, Organic Food Bar Protein bars will give you vim and vigor without making you feel lousy like other refined protein bars do.
Now for Bars you THINK are healthy, but really are making you fat: ThinkThin, Luna, Clifbars, Detour, Kind, and the like….
The key takeaway: Always choose bars that are organic (especially if animal protein based), are free of gluten, soy, trans fat, and GMOs. A small amount of sugar is OK and expected, ideally coming from fruit sources or honey.
Remember, eating protein can boost the rate at which your body repairs and builds new muscle after you exercise—and that’s a good thing since the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest.
Protein also increases the thermic effect of any exercise program, in other words you have calories you burn DURING exercise and you have the calories you burn AFTER exercise.
The thermic effect is what we personal trainers call the “After-Burn Effect” which can 7x your results from exercise.
Women who are using our Flat Belly System have access to over 18 metabolic workout videos that are designed to have a 36-hour After-Burn Effect.
To learn more about the ONLY comprehensive healthy fat loss program for women, click the image below: