First, protein is a helpful building block to bodies allowing muscles and cells to be repaired and rebuilt even while sleeping. (I love when things happen especially while I'm sleeping!) I've always focused on keeping my muscles strong even when I was in high school because they are what gives my body shape. Protein is also good for energy and the immune system. I know bodies are different, but in my case eating ample protein is key.
How much protein are we talking about here? My energy is at its best when I shoot for around 15-25 grams of protein in a meal. If I eat too much, my body stores the excess in fat and if I eat too little I'm ravenous shortly after eating. Here are a couple of approximate examples if you are visual like me:
Breakfast - 21 grams of protein - Greek yogurt cup and hard-boiled egg
Lunch - 25 grams of protein - Salad with chicken breast
Dinner - 24 grams of protein - Meat sauce over noodles or veggie of choice
Snack - 15 grams of protein - Roasted chickpeas or piece of string cheese wrapped in deli meat
Consider reading my post about eating Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables to make a well-rounded meal out of these examples.
Did you know, protein has worked wonders on my "hunger signal?" When I eat meals that are anchoring around the protein I consume, my body feels more full for a longer period. It's magic! I think this is because protein is easily digestible and able to be incorporated for repairing muscles and cells as it should.
Mixing protein sources up between meals and days of the week helps me not get stuck in a boring routine. My favorite sources of protein are meat/poultry and eggs. I sometimes eat nuts and greek yogurt. And, my kids don't eat peas very often, but they do like them cooked in a Tuna Noodle Casserole (which is canned tuna, peas, and a low-glycemic noodle such as Dreamfields pasta) to change it up by incorporating seafood/fish. About once or twice a week I choose to have beans instead of my go-to meat options. I hope anchoring your meals and snacks with protein helps you feel full longer and advances your healthy lifestyle!