Eat more to lose weight? Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?
Well it isn’t – as long as it’s chomping shed loads of the right thing. And that thing is protein.
According to Shona Wilkinson, Head Nutritionist at NutriCentre.com, protein is a vital ingredient you should eat more of to aid weight loss.
“Protein provides amino acids, each of them having a very specific role. They are needed to keep your metabolism up, to boost your energy levels and to produce the ‘happy hormone’ that can stop you craving comfort foods,” she commented.
Need more proof? Find out how protein really helps the body, which protein-packed foods you should stock up on and more…
Add proteins to lose weight
Protein-rich foods can help you to lose weight on many levels.
“Firstly, they will make you feel fuller after eating. Proteins are digested more slowly than carbs, and stay in the stomach for longer,” says Shona.
“It can also help you to digest carbohydrates when eaten together as a meal. That means that you will not only have your energy released more even during the day but also it will stop you from having sugar cravings.”
Also, protein can help to maintain or improve your muscle mass and growth.
“This simply means having more toned silhouette and also maintaining a healthy metabolism - muscle burns more energy than fat!,” Shona adds.
“Unless you’re lifting heavy weights for several hours a day, you won’t turn into a female Arnold Schwarzenegger –promise!"
We love PHD Woman Exercise Support Shake, which is designed to help you get the best from your workout. It helps to repair and recover your body plus is packed with female friendly vitamins and minerals.
Or if you'd rather something to chew on, try Pulsin Snack Bars. Packed to the brim with protein, these are a great post-workout snack or something to nibble on when you need a not so naughty treat.
Which foods are good sources of protein and how much do you actually need?
Shona suggests that the richest sources of protein are lean meat, fish and eggs, followed by cheese and yoghurt.
Other diet plant foods you can also include in your diet plant foods, nuts and seeds, beans, chickpeas and lentils, although they contain less protein than animal foods.
She explains: “On average, a woman needs 1g of protein per kilo body weight per day. This means that a woman weighing 60kg needs at least 60g of protein, which is equivalent to two chicken breasts, four eggs or three cups of cooked lentils.
“If you eat meat or fish and other animal foods once or twice a day, you’re probably getting enough but if you’re vegetarian or vegan then you’ll need to keep an eye on how much protein you’re getting.”
And if you're looking for lunch on the go, pop to YO! Sushi for their new YO!’s festival menu, where all of their delicious protein dishes are priced at £2.80 each up until the January 27.
What’s the best way to get my protein?
For a healthy weight and shape, it is not only how much but when you eat your protein.
“To help control your appetite and balance your energy levels, it is best to have protein-rich foods with every meal and snack. This generally means having about 15 to 20g of protein each time.
“If you are struggling with including protein in your diet try to add chickpeas or lentils to your soup, pumping seeds to yoghurt or spreading almond butter on your toast instead of jam,” she adds.
Protein powders – yes or no?
Shona suggests that protein powders are a good way to get your source of protein.
“There are plenty of options available nowadays, although whey is the most popular with sports people, you can also find plant-based protein powders such as rice, pea, soya and hemp proteins. They can be added to smoothies, shakes, juices (always choose vegetable juices rather than fruit, to cut the sugar), and some can even be added to savoury meals such as soups or stews.
“Some protein powders are especially formulated for supporting body shape and tone. As well as protein, they can contain ingredients such as green tea, guarana, caffeine that may help with metabolism and weight loss.”
Our favourites are PHD Woman Exercise Support Shake (it's packed with female-friendly vitamins and minerals) and if you want something to actually chew, try the delicious Puslin snack bars - a not so naughty treat.
Protein - how do you get yours? Tell us in the Comments box below.